What is primary biliary cholangitis (PBC)?
Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is a progressive and chronic autoimmune disease that affects the bile ducts in the liver. A long-term treatment plan that includes medicine to help slow the progression of PBC (and blood tests every 3 to 6 months to check progress) can help prevent serious health issues, including the need for a liver transplant.
What’s in a name?
Cholangitis vs cirrhosis
PBC was once called primary biliary cirrhosis, which led some people to believe PBC was alcohol related. The current name is more medically accurate and less likely to cause misunderstanding.
Important things to remember about PBC
- PBC is an autoimmune disease.
- It causes your body to attack itself
- When the body attacks its own cells, it causes inflammation and damage
- With PBC, your body attacks your own bile ducts in the liver
- PBC is progressive and chronic.
- PBC can get worse
- It will not go away over time
- With proper treatment, it’s possible to manage PBC
- PBC affects your bile ducts, which play an important role in keeping your liver healthy.
- PBC damages bile ducts and causes bile to build up in your liver
- Bile buildup, or cholestasis, can cause harmful scarring known as fibrosis
- Worsening fibrosis can lead to cirrhosis, which severely interferes with liver function
- The cirrhosis people with PBC can get is unrelated to drinking alcohol
What causes PBC?
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