Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) in Denver, CO
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What is PSC (primary sclerosing cholangitis)?
Primary sclerosing cholangitis, or PSC, is a chronic liver condition that is similar to primary biliary cholangitis (PBC); however, it affects the bile ducts located outside and inside the liver. The condition leads the bile ducts to become irritated, scarred, damaged, and more narrow in diameter, which could eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver as time goes on.
Bile is vital to the way the body functions. It aids in digestion and helps the body dispose of toxins, worn-out blood cells, and bad cholesterol. That is why it is imperative that individuals get care for primary sclerosing cholangitis without delay. Our team at Denver Digestive Health Specialists proudly offers experienced care for primary sclerosing cholangitis. For more information about the disease or to get care for PSC in Denver, CO, request a consultation with one of our gastroenterology providers today.
What causes PSC?
While the reason behind primary sclerosing cholangitis has not been determined, it is thought to be due to an immune reaction to a toxin or infection. Primary sclerosing cholangitis has a genetic predisposition, which indicates that if a member of your family has or had the disease, you have a higher risk of having it as well. Factors of risk associated with primary sclerosing cholangitis include:
- Heritage (people of Northern European descent are at an increased risk for PSC)
- Age (PSC is most commonly found in individuals between 30 – 50 years old)
- Being a man
- Having inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Our gastroenterologists at Denver Digestive Health Specialists can offer additional details surrounding the possible causes of primary sclerosing cholangitis and help you better understand your chance of having this disorder.
What are common symptoms of PSC?
In many instances, primary sclerosing cholangitis is detected before any symptoms develop through a routine test for other concerns. Treatment of primary sclerosing cholangitis is more effective when detected in the early stages. The initial symptoms of PSC may include tiredness and itching. Some other general signs and symptoms of primary sclerosing cholangitis involve:
- Pain in the joints
- Dark skin not associated with sun exposure
- Excessive sweating during sleep
- Undesired weight loss
- Swollen ankles and feet
- Pain in the upper right abdominal area
- Muscle soreness
- Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin)
- Dry eyes
- Dark-colored and greasy stools
- Dryness of the mouth
- High cholesterol
- Fragile bones
It is important to request a visit with your nearest Denver Digestive Health Specialists gastroenterologist if you experience excessive itching on a significant portion of your body, or if you feel more exhausted than normal. It is essential to mention these symptoms to your physician if you have been diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
How is PSC treated?
Healthcare professionals have not uncovered a cure for primary sclerosing cholangitis. The majority of the treatment strategies involve addressing the narrowing of the bile ducts and the complications and symptoms associated with the condition. Our Denver, CO gastroenterologists may advise one or more of the options listed here to treat PSC:
- Manage itching symptoms with topical creams
- Avoid consuming alcohol
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Surgery to temporarily open bile duct obstructions
- Nutritional support
- Antibiotics for infections
- Liver transplant surgery
- Balloon dilation to widen narrowed bile ducts
- Stents to treat narrowed or blocked bile ducts
Expert care for chronic liver disease
As a chronic liver condition, primary sclerosing cholangitis could affect your health in several aspects, and it might lead to additional health issues in the absence of treatment. Our digestive health team at Denver Digestive Health Specialists can provide the personalized care you need to help enhance your quality of living. To visit a provider who offers treatment for primary sclerosing cholangitis in Denver, CO, contact one of our locations in your community.
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