Primary biliary cirrhosis, a disease that slowly destroys the liver's bile ducts, can eventually make the liver stop working. However, a person in the early stages of primary biliary cirrhosis may not even know that his or her liver is being damaged. In fact, for many people, the condition is first discovered because of an abnormal blood test. In cases where symptoms are present, itchy skin and fatigue are the most common signs.
Although some research suggests that this disease may be caused by a problem within the immune system, the exact cause is unknown. Treatment options for primary biliary cirrhosis may include:
- Dietary supplements
- Hormone therapy
- Medications to treat specific symptoms caused by the condition.
(To learn more about this condition, including when a liver transplant may be required, click Primary Biliary Cirrhosis.)