All Terms

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Alanine aminotransferase (ALT): An enzyme primarily located in the liver that helps the body get rid of nitrogen; ALT levels can get higher when the liver is injured Explore diagnostic markers of PBC
Albumin: A protein made in the liver; when albumin levels drop, it can be a sign of inflammation from liver illness Explore diagnostic markers of PBC
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP): An enzyme that can be traced in the blood and can be used to track how well a person is responding to their primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) treatment Explore diagnostic markers of PBC
Alpha-1 antitrypsin: A protein that is primarily produced in the liver and can be used to warn doctors that certain diseases may be developing Explore diagnostic markers of PBC
Antimitochondrial antibodies (AMAs): Antibodies are proteins that the body releases to identify and neutralize harmful molecules in the body such as bacteria and viruses; AMAs are antibodies that attack the membranes of certain cells and are seen in most, but not all, people who have primary biliary cholangitis (PBC)
Ascites: An accumulation of fluid in the abdominal area of the body that is a symptom of later-phase primary biliary cholangitis (PBC)
Aspartate aminotransferase (AST): An enzyme that helps rid the body of excess nitrogen; AST can be elevated as a result of damage to tissues of the body, including the liver; AST is also known as serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase Explore diagnostic markers of PBC
Autoimmune disease: A disorder where the body attacks its own cells as if they were a virus or bacteria
Did you know? Up to 55% of patients with PBC are diagnosed with at least 1 additional autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune hepatitis: A condition in which the body’s immune system attacks liver cells, leading to inflammation of the liver See other conditions accompanied by PBC
Autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s disease): A disorder causing chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland, which may affect its function See other conditions accompanied by PBC
Bile: A fluid made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder; when released by the liver, bile helps with digestion
Bile ducts: Tubes in the body that carry bile from the liver to the small intestine; in PBC, bile ducts are damaged, which can cause bile to build up in the liver; bile buildup can become toxic and can further damage the bile ducts
Bilirubin: A yellow bile pigment formed during the breakdown of red blood cells, it’s processed by the liver and excreted in bile; when the liver is not working properly, bile can accumulate in the blood and tissues of the body and can make the skin, and sometimes the eyes, appear yellow (jaundice) Explore diagnostic markers of PBC
Biomarker: A biological substance which is easily measurable and can help indicate that there is an underlying medical condition
Brain fog: Difficulty in concentrating and processing information and short-term memory lapses
Did you know? Up to 80% of patients with PBC report some form of cognitive impairment.
Celiac disease: A disorder in which individuals are not able to tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, leaving individuals unable to absorb nutrients See other conditions accompanied by PBC
Cholangitis: Inflammation of the bile ducts
Cholestasis: Slowing down or stopping the normal flow of bile
Chronic: Lasts a long time and does not go away
Cirrhosis: A serious condition of the liver where the organ stops working because of an accumulation of scar tissue; cirrhosis can cause chronic liver failure and may require a liver transplant
Computerized tomography (CT) scan: A noninvasive diagnostic imaging test that uses X-ray technology to produce images of the inside of the body and provide information about injury, disease, or changes to the liver, gallbladder, and biliary tract; it can also be important in identifying complications of the disease, such as esophageal varices and ascites
Contagious: Capable of being transmitted from one person to another
CREST syndrome: A disorder that results in hardening of the skin and consists of calcinosis, Raynaud’s disease, esophageal dysmotility, sclerodactyly, and telangiectasia See other conditions accompanied by PBC
Depression: A mental state characterized by feelings of sadness, despair, and discouragement; depression can range from normal feelings of “the blues” to a serious disorder that interferes with daily life Learn ways of managing symptoms of PBC
Enzyme: A protein molecule that helps facilitate chemical reactions in the body
FibroScan®: A noninvasive ultrasound-based test used to measure liver scarring, or fibrosis
Fibrosis: The formation of excessive fibrous tissue in response to tissue damage
Fluid retention: When the body holds on to liquids that otherwise would be removed; the liquids accumulate and can cause swelling
Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT): An enzyme that generally occurs in the cells of the kidney; can be measured as part of a liver function test to indicate potential liver damage Explore diagnostic markers of PBC
Hepatocellular carcinoma: Cancer of the liver
Inflammation: The increase of immune cells to a particular group of cells or tissues as a response to cellular injury; typically involves pain, heat, redness, and swelling
Inherited: Passed from parent to child through the genes
Jaundice: A yellow appearance of the skin and/or eyes caused by having too much bilirubin in the body
Liver biopsy: A procedure that removes a small amount of tissue from the liver; the sample can then be closely looked at to make a diagnosis, or to see how damaged the liver may be
Liver panel tests: Blood tests used to help diagnose and monitor liver disease or damage
Did you know? It’s important to track PBC disease progression by monitoring liver tests every 3–6 months.
Liver specialists: Also known as “gastroenterologists” or “hepatologists,” a liver specialist is a doctor whose focus and training is in treating people with liver disease
Liver ultrasound: A noninvasive diagnostic tool that uses sound waves to create images of the liver and bile ducts
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: A noninvasive diagnostic tool that uses magnets and radio waves to capture detailed images of the liver and biliary tract; it can also reveal the stage of liver fibrosis
Osteoporosis: A condition where bones become weaker and more fragile
Portal hypertension: Abnormally high blood pressure in a major vein of the liver that is a complication of cirrhosis
Primary sclerosing cholangitis: A chronic disease that damages the bile ducts inside and outside the liver; different from PBC, which affects primarily small bile ducts inside the liver
Progressive: Becoming worse over time
Proteins: Important compounds in the body that are essential components of cells and tissues
Prothrombin time (PT): A measure of the clotting ability of the blood Explore diagnostic markers of PBC
Pruritus: Itching of the skin that can affect a specific spot on the skin or can be felt all over Learn ways of managing symptoms of PBC
Rare disease: In the United States, a disease is considered rare (or orphan) if it affects fewer than 200,000 people
Raynaud’s disease: A disorder that causes a restriction of oxygen flow to the fingers and toes, resulting in discoloration of the skin in response to stress or cold See other conditions accompanied by PBC
Rheumatoid arthritis: A disorder in which the joints are chronically inflamed See other conditions accompanied by PBC
Sjögren’s syndrome: A disorder in which the body’s mucus-secreting glands, such as the tear ducts of the eyes and saliva glands of the mouth, stop working properly over time See other conditions accompanied by PBC
Symptoms: Symptoms of PBC include itching (pruritus), fatigue (tiredness), dry eyes and mouth, and trouble remembering or concentrating Learn ways of managing symptoms of PBC
Varices: Enlarged and abnormally windy veins
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