Home » Conditions » PBC (Primary Biliary Cholangitis)
Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), formerly known as primary biliary cirrhosis, is a rare chronic liver disease. PBC is a progressive autoimmune disease that slowly destroys the bile ducts (called the intrahepatic bile ducts) in your liver. Bile helps with digestion and rids your body of bad cholesterol, toxins, and worn-out red blood cells. This disease can also lead to serious issues within the liver. If the bile ducts are damaged or destroyed then bile can build up in your liver and scar the liver. If the liver becomes too damaged it could lead to liver cirrhosis.
PBC is an autoimmune disease. What this means is that the body reacts poorly to bacteria or infection and begins to attack healthy cells and tissues.
Inflammation in the small ducts spread to other parts of the liver, killing those cells and causing scarring. As the liver scars more and more it begins to function improperly, leading to cirrhosis. It is unclear what causes these white blood cells to attack healthy cells but it appears to be genetic.
Some of the risk factors associated with having PBC include:
Often, symptoms of PBC do not manifest until five to twenty years following diagnosis. The diagnosis of PBC usually occurs while testing for other conditions.
Early symptoms of PBC include:
Other common symptoms of PBC include:
There is currently no cure for PBC. Treatment focuses on slowing the progression of the disease and treating the complications. Some of the common treatment options include:
The average life expectancy of a person with PBC after they start showing symptoms, is 10 years, unless they receive a liver transplant.
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