February 08, 2014

Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC)

        Primary biliary cirrhosis is a disease in which the bile ducts in your liver are slowly destroyed. 
        Bile, a fluid produced in your liver, plays a role in digesting food and helps rid your body of worn-out red blood cells, cholesterol and toxins. When bile ducts are damaged, as in primary biliary cirrhosis, harmful substances can build up in your liver and sometimes lead to irreversible scarring of liver tissue (cirrhosis). Primary biliary cirrhosis is thought to be an autoimmune disease in which the body turns against its own cells, but what triggers primary biliary cirrhosis isn't clear. 
          Primary biliary cirrhosis develops slowly. Medication can slow the progression of the disease, especially if treatment begins early.


         Treatment focuses on reducing symptoms, preventing and treating the complications of the disease, and preventing other conditions that may cause additional liver damage. 
  • The medicine ursodiol is usually given soon after a diagnosis of primary biliary cirrhosis. Ursodiol helps move bile out of the liver and into the small intestine. If it is used early enough, ursodiol can improve liver function and may keep you from needing a liver transplant. The medicine may also help you live longer. 
  • Medicines such as cholestyramine, rifampicin, or naltrexone may be used to help with itching caused by PBC.
  • PBC can also cause dry eyes and mouth. The best way to help dry eyes is to use eye drops (artificial tears) when your eyes feel dry. 
  • A dry mouth can be helped by chewing gum or hard candy to increase saliva. You can also use a saliva substitute. 
  • People with PBC have a high risk of getting osteoporosis, you should have periodic bone mineral density scans. Your doctor may suggest that you take calcium and vitamin D supplements, and perhaps a medicine called a bisphosphonate.


       Diet cannot cure primary biliary cirrhosis; however, it may prevent nutrient deficiencies and reduce complications of this condition.

  • Vitamin D-Rich Foods - 
            Primary biliary cirrhosis can cause poor absorption of vitamin D. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium in your intestines, which can help maintain bone density and strength. Supplement your vitamin D intake by consuming foods such as eggs, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, mackerel, shiitake mushrooms, salmon and sweet potatoes. Exposure to sun light is the best source.

  • Vitamin K-Rich Foods - 
            Because bile duct inflammation can restrict the flow of bile, which is necessary for vitamin absorption, your body may not obtain sufficient vitamin K. Vitamin K is necessary for the proper clotting of blood, which can help reduce bleeding from skin wounds. It also helps reduce your risk of osteoporosis by improving your body's ability to absorb and use calcium. Consume foods such as spinach, asparagus, avocados and kale to boost your intake of vitamin K.

  • Beta-Carotene-Rich Foods - 
            Primary biliary cirrhosis may reduce the absorption of vitamin A in your digestive system. Adding foods rich in beta-carotene, such as bell peppers, dandelion greens, garlic, carrots, papayas and pumpkin, may help reduce vitamin A deficiency in your body. Beta-carotene's role in vitamin A production may help maintain immune system function and provide antioxidant protection against free radical damage.


                  Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC)

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