Primary biliary cirrhosis occurs as an autoimmune disorder. When the immune system fails to recognize that the bile ducts within the liver are of the body, the immune system attacks it. This leads to damage in the forms of scarring and fibrosis because the liver tries to repair itself and fails from the constant assaults of the immune system, as well as cirrhosis, where the liver is no longer able to function properly. In addition, the attacks on the bile ducts block the bile drainage, preventing bile and other toxins from exiting the liver properly, leading to the aforementioned cirrhosis. It should not be of too much concern, as primary biliary cirrhosis life expectancy is about the length of the normal if treated properly.
This article deals with the methods on how to extend the life expectancy of a primary biliary cirrhosis patient in practical means – that is to say, using as little artificial drugs as possible, unless the medicines in question are in fact vital to the life expectancy of the patient. Always bear in mind that not all patients can afford the high costs of care and medicine of all diseases, so for a chronic, uncurable disease such as primary biliary cirrhosis, some patients will feel an unfair and great financial burden that normal people otherwise would not have.
The first and most important thing about any liver disease is to avoid any intake of alcohol. Alcohol is a toxin that the liver needs to detoxify so that it can be removed from circulation. Since the toxin pathway out of the liver is blocked thanks to the bile duct damage, alcohol cannot be removed effectively. Imagine having a hangover that lasts for days. Not pretty.
Other things to help treat the symptoms of primary biliary cirrhosis are to reduce sodium intake, drinking plenty of water, getting sufficient rest and exercise (especially walking), and get regular dental checkups, and in case the patient suffers from dry eyes even with the increased water intake, use artificial tears to prevent the eyes from drying out.
Now we come to the pharmacology of primary biliary cirrhosis. The best thing is for the patient to take ursodiol, a drug specifically designed for primary biliary cirrhosis. Ursodiol can cost up to a dollar per pill of 300 mg. According to the Food and Drugs Administration, ursodiol is recommended at roughly 15 mg/kg/day, given with food. For a 70 kilogram patient, this can reach up to 1050 mg, which is a little more than three doses per day. That means that if the patient has no health insurance, they will have to spend a total of about three dollars a day. This is just the drug for the primary symptom of primary biliary cirrhosis, and does not include the drugs to be used for itching (cholestyramine, or stanolozol, naltrexone, and rifampcin) and jaundice, as well as vitamin supplements for A, D, E, and K, whose absorptions are impaired due to their nature as fatty vitamins. Patients are also at risk for osteoporosis and esophageal varices.
The most effective (but admittedly also expensive) solution is a liver transplant, which is normally done when the ursodiol no longer has a beneficiary effect to the patient. As it can be expensive, the goal of the primary treatments of lifestyle modifications and other medicines is to delay this for as long as possible. Surgery can have its own complications after all.
In short, primary biliary cirrhosis life expectancy is just as long as a regular person’s, as long as the treatment regimen is followed properly. Primary biliary cirrhosis, with the help of modern medicine, is merely pricey as compared to deadly disease it was. The most important thing, however, is to follow the physician’s advice. When in doubt, consult a doctor.