Biliary cirrhosis of the liver and its symptoms

Biliary cirrhosis of the liver is an extremely unfavorable disease. Its essence lies in the fact that aseptic inflammation develops in the bile ducts, against the background of which normal liver tissues begin to be replaced by fibrous foci. Such a pathological process has a chronic and gradually progressive course. Quite often, this pathology is not accompanied by any clinical signs for a long time and is discovered by chance.

The incidence of biliary cirrhosis among the population is not so high. According to statistics, it is diagnosed in about fifty people per million of the population. Moreover, most often such a pathological process is detected in female representatives who have stepped over the age of forty. The danger of this disease lies in the fact that it can cause multiple organ failure with subsequent death. There is also a high risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma against the background of this disease.  

Currently, the question of why biliary cirrhosis occurs is still open. There is an assumption that this disease is directly related to various autoimmune reactions. This theory is supported by the fact that many people with this diagnosis have other autoimmune problems, for example, rheumatoid arthritis. It is interesting that there is a clear relationship between this pathology and hereditary predisposition. If a person has close relatives with such a problem, the risk of liver damage increases by more than five hundred times.

It has been established that the primary formation of this disease is an aseptic inflammatory process in the biliary tract. The epithelium begins to actively proliferate, which leads to the formation of fibrous foci. Over time, inflammation in the bile ducts subsides, and fibrotic changes begin to spread to the liver tissue.

It is believed that, in addition to autoimmune disorders, various anomalies in the structure of the biliary tract, narrowing or obliteration of their lumen, formed stones in the biliary tract, cystic and tumor neoplasms can provoke the development of biliary cirrhosis of the liver.

Depending on the cause of the occurrence, this pathological process is primary and secondary. The primary form is established if no disturbances from the biliary tract are found. The secondary form implies the presence of any underlying pathology that led to the formation of an aseptic inflammatory reaction in the bile ducts.

In its development, this disease goes through four stages. The first stage is characterized by a violation of the outflow of bile and inflammation of only the bile ducts. In this case, no clinical manifestations are found. The second stage is accompanied by the spread of the inflammatory response to hepatocytes . At the third stage, the hepatic tissue begins to be replaced by fibrous tissue. The fourth stage is directly the biliary cirrhosis of the liver itself. 

Symptoms of biliary cirrhosis

As we have already said, at first, with such a pathology, the symptoms are either completely absent or have an erased character. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the very first complaint of a sick person is itchy skin. It can appear periodically or be present all the time. Most often, its strengthening is noted in the evening and at night. In addition, the patient becomes lethargic, apathetic, and also pays attention to soreness in the right hypochondrium. Another characteristic feature is the bitter taste in the mouth. 

As the pathological process progresses, the clinical picture is supplemented by symptoms such as spider veins on the surface of the skin, their dryness and yellowing, as well as deformation of the nail plates. A transverse striation appears on the nails , they become flatter and wider. Itching and pain in the liver area become even more intense. Palpation of the liver reveals its increase in size and severe pain. The spleen also often becomes larger.

When examining a sick person, you can see dilated veins on his anterior abdominal wall. In addition, quite often fluid accumulates in the abdominal cavity, due to which it increases in size. Hemorrhoidal and esophageal veins also dilate, which can cause internal bleeding. The mandatory present symptoms such as nausea and constantly expressed frequent vomiting, discoloration of feces. In the advanced stages of this pathological process, signs indicating hepatic encephalopathy join.

Diagnosis and treatment of the disease

This disease is diagnosed on the basis of concomitant clinical manifestations in conjunction with additional research. First of all, the patient is prescribed a biochemical blood test, in which increased liver enzymes, an increase in alkaline phosphatase, and so on will be determined. Research is needed to assess the immune status. In order to detect fibrotic changes in the liver, an ultrasound diagnostic method or computed tomography is prescribed. The diagnosis can be confirmed with a biopsy followed by a histological examination. 

Treatment of biliary cirrhosis of the liver is reduced to the appointment of immunosuppressants and choleretic drugs. Additionally, detoxification measures are carried out, diuretics are used. Glucocorticosteroids , antihistamines, multivitamins can also be included in the treatment plan. In some cases, it becomes necessary to perform a surgical intervention.

Prevention of biliary cirrhosis

To prevent this disease, it is recommended to lead a healthy lifestyle, give up bad habits, eat well and regularly undergo scheduled preventive examinations.  

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