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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
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biliary cirrhosis
Posted by: Michelle
Date: September 8, 2001 2:40 AM

I was diagnosed with biliary cirrhosis. Is there any alternative to Prednisone?

RE: biliary cirrhosis
Posted by: Ron Kennedy
Date: September 8, 2001 2:12 PM

I presume this is primary biliary cirrhosis. If so, it is inflammatory condition of bile ducts resulting in narrowing and obstruction of the flow of bile. This can result in damage to the liver cells. Bile ducts within the liver become inflamed. The standard line is medicine is that it is due to unknown cause and all the factors are not known. The disease more commonly affects middle-aged women. The onset of symptoms is gradual, most commonly with fatigue and itching skin as the first symptom. Long-standing bile obstruction can lead to liver cirrhosis, a decimation of liver cells with scarring and anatomical disorganization of cell and drainage structures of the liver. Until this happens the conditions would best be called non-infectious hepatitis. The goal is to stop the inflammation before it lead to obstruction and cirrhosis. There are many other conditions in medicine which are inflammatory in nature which are treated with Prednisone. I would not go so far as to say there are alternatives to Prednisone when these conditions are in a life threatening stage. However, it is my personal belief that the major underlying cause of these conditions, broadly called "autoimmune disorders," is generalized or specific toxicities. I believe good medicine calls for a search for the offending toxins to see if there is a specific toxic substance which can be identified - perhaps a pesticide or a heavy metal. If no specific toxicity is identified, I consider there to be a "generalized" toxicity which is a term to cover the exposure we all have to toxins in the industrial and commercial agricultural age. Proper detoxification is something for which a person should have a professional relationship with a doctor skilled in that area. This you will not find in the yellow pages as it is not taught in medical school. Many of the doctors I list on this site in Find A Doctor, or available in the associated Physician Referral Service are skilled in this area.

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