What are the Symptoms of PBC?

What are the Symptoms of PBC?

Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC), formerly known as primary biliary cirrhosis, is a chronic liver disease characterized by the gradual destruction of bile ducts within the liver. The symptoms and progression of PBC can vary from person to person, and some individuals may not experience symptoms in the early stages. Common symptoms of PBC may include:

  1. Fatigue:
    • Persistent and profound fatigue, which can significantly impact daily activities.
  2. Itching (Pruritus):
    • Intense itching, often worse at night, due to the buildup of bile salts in the skin.
  3. Dry Eyes and Mouth:
    • Dry eyes (xerophthalmia) and mouth (xerostomia) due to reduced saliva and tear production.
  4. Jaundice:
    • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice) caused by a buildup of bilirubin in the blood.
  5. Dark Urine and Light Stools:
    • Dark-colored urine and light or clay-colored stools due to altered bilirubin metabolism.
  6. Abdominal Pain or Discomfort:
    • Pain or discomfort in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen, where the liver is located.
  7. Enlarged Liver and Spleen:
    • Swelling or enlargement of the liver (hepatomegaly) and spleen (splenomegaly).
  8. Chronic Dry Cough:
    • A persistent, dry cough, possibly due to associated lung complications.
  9. Muscle and Joint Pain:
    • Muscle and joint pain or stiffness.
  10. Osteoporosis or Bone Fractures:
    • Decreased bone density, leading to an increased risk of fractures.
  11. Fatty Deposits (Xanthomas):
    • Yellowish fatty deposits in the skin, especially around the eyes or in skin creases.
  12. Weight Loss:
    • Unintended weight loss.
  13. Hypothyroidism:
    • An underactive thyroid gland, which can cause symptoms such as fatigue, cold intolerance, and weight gain.

It’s important to note that some individuals with PBC may remain asymptomatic for a long time or have mild symptoms. Over time, PBC can progress and lead to liver cirrhosis and its associated complications. Early diagnosis and appropriate management, often involving medications to slow disease progression, are key to improving outcomes for individuals with PBC. If you suspect you may have PBC or are experiencing concerning symptoms, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for evaluation and diagnosis.

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