PRIMARY BILIARY CHOLANGITIS
Primary Biliary Cholangitis, previously known as Primary Biliary Cirrhosis, is a chronic disease caused by damage to the bile duct in the liver. This damage to the bile ducts happens slowly and leads to the buildup of bile in the liver, thereby causing scarring in the liver (cirrhosis) and ultimately affecting the function of the liver. Primary biliary cholangitis is more common in women than in men.
The bile duct is a small channel that carries bile(a digestive fluid that aids the breakdown of fat and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins) from the liver to the small intestine. The stages of Primary Biliary Cholangitis are chronic inflammation in the liver leading to bile duct damage, irreversible scarring of the liver tissue, liver failure and death.
The exact cause of biliary cholangitis is not known. Meanwhile, it could be as a result of certain autoimmune disorders or environmental factors.
The risk factors of Primary Biliary Cholangitis are genetic or family history, gender, age groups of 30-60 years, urinary tract infections, smoking and exposure to certain chemicals.
Symptoms of Primary Biliary Cholangitis include dry eyes and mouth, swelling of the spleen, bone, muscle or joint pain, oedema, ascites, xanthomas, jaundice, hyperpigmentation, osteoporosis, high cholesterol, steatorrhea, high thyroid levels, weight loss and itching skin.
The complications of Primary Biliary Cholangitis include liver cirrhosis, portal hypertension, gall stones, bile duct stones, liver cancer, vitamin deficiencies, hepatic encephalopathy, cholestasis, and Raynaud’s.
Laboratory diagnosis of Primary Biliary Cholangitis involves an Antimitochondrial antibody test(AMA), liver function tests, triglycerides test, cholesterol test and liver biopsy.
Primary Biliary Cholangitis presently has no cure but there are medications to slow liver damage if treatment starts early.
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