About Primary Biliary Cirrhosis:
Primary Biliary Cirrhosis more popularly referred to as Primary Biliary Cholangitis is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system of the body mistakenly believes the healthy tissues of the bile duct in the liver to be foreign invaders and attacks them. This significantly damages the bile ducts such that it is not able to function normally and carry bile from the liver to the intestine.
Over time, there is a buildup of bile in the liver which then starts to damage the liver. Ultimately, the liver gets damaged to the extent that the affected individual develops liver cirrhosis. Primary Biliary Cirrhosis is a slow developing disease and the symptoms are only evident after approximately 10 years.
There is no known cause for this condition but studies suggest possible genetic and environmental links to the development of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis. If identified early medications ar given to slow down the damage caused to the liver.
How Does Primary Biliary Cirrhosis Feel Like?
It normally takes about 10 years for the first symptoms to be observed of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis. More than half of the cases of this condition are diagnosed incidentally when a test is being conducted for some other condition. Since the symptoms develop only in the latter stages of this condition, the overall prognosis for such individuals is quite poor.
The early symptoms of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis include persistent fatigue, skin gets extremely itchy, and mouth gets dry. As the disease advances the symptoms get more severe and include frequent bouts of pain in the upper right abdomen, splenomegaly, constant musculoskeletal pain, edema of the lower extremities, ascites found on radiographs as a result of liver failure.
There are also fatty deposits around the eyes, palms, elbows and knees, jaundice, skin discoloration where the skin gets dark. An individual with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis will have weak bones and will be prone to frequent fractures.
Hypercholesterolemia is another condition seen in people with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis. People with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis also have Hypothyroidism and unintentional weight loss. Patients also complain of frequent bouts of diarrhea with greasy stools due to Primary Biliary Cirrhosis.