Extreme Tiredness and Itchy Skin May Mean You Have THIS Serious Liver Disorder
What is Primary Biliary Cirrhosis?
Primary biliary cirrhosis is a liver disease which causes the bile ducts in the liver to become swollen and scarred. It is not a well-understood disease. Researchers have determined that it is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the bile ducts. Bile is produced by the liver and helps the body digest fats and remove toxins. Bile builds up in the liver once the ducts are damaged and further damage is done to the liver. Cirrhosis of the liver is the result of advanced cases of primary biliary cirrhosis.
Further studies from the Mayo Clinic state that PCB is a growing reason for liver transplantation in the United States and is the sixth leading reason for liver transplants. However; twenty-five percent of those who receive a transplant develop the disease again within ten years. In one study it was determined that the median survival rate for those diagnosed with PCB was around seven years in the United States. In other countries, the survival rate can be as high as sixteen years.
People suffering from the beginning stages of this disease experience fatigue. In fact, studies show that sixty-five percent of patients experience extreme tiredness. A damaged liver cannot remove toxins from blood, and toxins accumulate in the brain. This accumulation of toxins decreases mental function and over time can lead to coma. A study from the Mayo Clinic titled “Cognitive Impairment in Primary Biliary Cirrhosis: Symptom Impact and Potential Etiology” outlines that fifty-three percent of patients show problems with memory and concentration.
Another early symptom of PBC is known as pruritus. Fifty-five percent of patients complain of constant, intense itching. This is skin irritation is due to the liver’s inability to process toxins from the body. A study out of the Mayo Clinic has determined that antihistamines may help control the itching associated with this disease. However; antihistamine use only manages the discomfort and will not cure PCB.
Other early symptoms of primary biliary cirrhosis include dry, itchy eyes and a dry feeling in the mouth. This is because the built-up toxins in the body affect tear ducts and salivary glands. Worsening arthritis pain and bone pain may be present as the disease progresses.