Liver is an important part of the human digestive system and produces bile juices that play an important role in absorption of fats and elimination of toxins from the intestinal tract. Inflammation of bile ducts can lead to obstruction to the movement of the bile juices, produced in the liver. This obstruction, eventually results in damage to the liver cells, resulting in scarring or fibrosis.
Progressive cirrhosis or liver damage can lead to liver failure and can be associated with a host of complications including internal hemorrhage, kidney failure, electrolyte imbalance, malnutrition due to mal-absorption of fat soluble vitamins and nutrients, encephalopathy and soft bones.
It is presumed that the condition is an autoimmune disorder, in which the body’s natural immune system attacks the healthy liver cells, causing inflammation of the liver cells and bile ducts. Epidemiologically, the condition is more frequently observed in middle aged females.
Biliary cirrhosis is often observed in conjunction with other autoimmune disorders like Raynaud’s phenomenon, Sicca Syndrome, Celiac disease and thyroid disorders.
Diagnosis And Prognosis Of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
The diagnosis of the condition is based on clinical evaluation, blood tests and imaging studies.
Various blood tests are performed to evaluate the functioning of the liver. These tests include albumin blood test, liver function tests, prothrombin time and cholesterol and lipoprotein blood tests. In some cases liver biopsy may be performed to identify cirrhosis and level of liver damage. Ultrasonograms may be useful in identifying fatty deposits and liver enlargement (not captured on clinical evaluation).
The overall outcome of the condition may vary from person to person. In about 75% of all cases, liver failure occurs within 10 years of the development of the condition and subsequently liver transplant may be required to improve the chances of survival.
Natural Cures For Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
The focus of the treatment is to alleviate the symptoms whilst dealing with deficiency disorders. The treatment regimen involves the use of nutrients along with simple home remedies to reduce the severity of symptoms.
- Vitamin supplements namely Vitamin A, D and K need to be included in the diet to overcome nutritional deficiencies.
- Limit the intake of over the counter medications and antibiotics, as they can put additional stress on the liver.
- Avoid processed foods and trans fats as these are difficult to digest and strain liver cells. Alternatively, consume foods that are easy to digest including steamed vegetables, steamed rice, etc. Avoid oily and fatty foods. Avoid dairy products and meat.
- Turmeric and raw honey have strong anti-inflammatory properties and should be consumed regularly to reduce the inflammation of the liver cells.
- Homeopathic drugs Lycopodium and Chelidonium are useful to improve liver functions. Sulphur can help alleviate the symptoms like itching and fatigue. These drugs need to be taken after consulting a homeopathic doctor.
- Liver transplant may be required prior to liver failure to improve the chances of survival.