Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC) in Kansas City, MO

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Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), once called primary biliary cirrhosis, is a rare chronic liver condition. PBC is an ongoing immune system disease that gradually harms the bile ducts (known as the intrahepatic bile ducts) within the liver. Bile assists in digesting fats and flushes out bad cholesterol, toxins, and worn-out red blood cells. This condition may additionally result in serious issues within the liver. When the bile ducts are harmed or dysfunctional, then bile can build up in your liver and lead to scarring. If the liver incurs too much damage, it may cause liver cirrhosis.

If you would like to learn more about this disease or to get therapy for primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) in Kansas City, MO, we welcome you to book a consultation at our office. Our Digestive Health Specialists providers are happy to offer personalized treatments for individuals throughout the greater Kansas City metropolitan area.

PBC is an autoimmune disease. This means that the body incorrectly destroys normal tissues and cells. Liver inflammation happens when white blood cells, referred to as T cells (T lymphocytes), begin to collect and destroy normal cells within the liver. Swelling in the small ducts advances to other places in the liver, destroying those cells as well and leaving scarring. As the scarring increases, the liver begins to function incorrectly, causing liver cirrhosis. It is unclear what makes these white blood cells destroy normal cell tissue, although it appears to be genetic.

Risk factors

Some of the risk variables connected with having primary biliary cholangitis are:

  • Being a female
  • Genetics (individuals are at an elevated risk of primary biliary cholangitis if a family member has gotten it)
  • Age 30 to 60 years
  • Location (primary biliary cholangitis is more common in North America and Northern Europe)
  • Smoking and exposure to other toxins
  • Some infections

If you would like more info about PBC and how it impacts a person's body, contact a gastrointestinal specialist at Digestive Health Specialists today.

Generally, symptoms of PBC do not manifest until 5 – 20 years following diagnosis. The detection of PBC commonly takes place while looking for other problems. The beginning signs of PBC include fatigue, dry eyes and mouth, and itchy skin.

Additional common markers of PBC are:

  • High cholesterol
  • Loose and greasy stools
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Dark skin not connected to sun exposure
  • Swelling of the feet and ankles
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Fragile bones
  • Joint discomfort
  • Pain just below the ribcage

It is important to detect primary biliary cholangitis as early as possible. In the event that you suspect you may be at risk of having PBC due to your genetics, or a combination of the above signs, our Kansas City, MO gastroenterologists can help.

At present, there is no way to reverse primary biliary cholangitis. Intervention aids in delaying the progression of the disease and addressing the symptoms. Some of the common treatment recommendations involve:

  • Obeticholic acid (aids liver health)
  • Fibrates (reduce itching and liver inflammation)
  • Exercise
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Ursodeoxycholic acid (helps move bile out of your liver)
  • Liver transplant

The average expected lifespan of an individual with PBC after they start displaying signs is ten years if they do not receive a transplanted liver. Although there is no cure, patients will be able to obtain the treatment necessary to gain an improved quality of life. Our gastrointestinal specialists will help you explore the choices for treatment available to you.

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When you or a loved one might be displaying the symptoms or signs of primary biliary cholangitis, know that individualized assistance is within reach. The GI specialists at Digestive Health Specialists are happy to provide intervention options to allow you to treat this liver disease for better health and wellness. If you'd like to talk to a physician who offers therapy for primary biliary cholangitis in Kansas City, MO, contact our practice today. Our experienced gastrointestinal specialists are ready to help.

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Hands down the best doctor I’ve been to. He takes the time to listen to your problems and explain his thought processes. I’ve frequently been told my symptoms were anxiety by other doctors who refused to look into my health problems more than a 5 minute conversation, not Dr. Tritsch. He will order tests to see if he can figure out The Why’s. I recently went in for a procedure being handled by someone else and Dr. Tritsch saw me walk in and dropped in to say hi and see how I was! He calls me with test results himself and explains what they mean and what options I have to choose from. I can’t recommend him enough, it’s rare to find a doctor who cares the way he does.

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