Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
Primary Biliary Cirrhosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the liver’s bile ducks. It is most commonly found in women of middle age but can affect both sexes. Generally affecting one out of every three to four thousand people, Primary Biliary Cirrhosis inflames the liver’s bile ducts prohibiting the flow of bile out of the liver. As the bile builds up, a condition known as cholestasis, it damages the liver causing scarring, cirrhosis (the replacement of healthy liver tissue with regenerative nodules and scar tissue), and fibrosis (the development of excess fibrous connective tissue in the liver). In the final stages, Primary Biliary Cirrhosis can cause the total cessation of liver function.
Symptoms of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
Early signs of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis include itching (pruritus) and fatigue. As the disease develops, it can cause skin pigmentation, jaundice, deposits of yellow in the eyelids and skin, and abnormalities in the nerves, kidneys, and bones. In the late stages, it may cause thyroid problems and osteoporosis in addition to the damage done to the liver’s functioning abilities.
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