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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
Welcome to Ask Dr. Kennedy. We encourage you to post your comments and questions here. We look forward to challenging questions as they are an education for us as well as for you. Please consider the following guidelines when posting:

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Primary Sclerosing Cholangitus
Posted by: Sue Jones Ott
Date: December 6, 2000 6:10 AM

12/5/00

Dr. Kennedy: On 11/8/00 my husband (age 61) was diagnosed with PRIMARY SCLEROSING CHOLANGITIS.

We are looking for an alternative medicine doctor to work with us on his case. We don't know where to start. Would that be your area? Do you know someone in that area?

As it is, we are starting on a spiral of the MD telling us "no herbs", etc. and I'm scared to death without some professional assistance.

We'll look forward to your reply.

Sue Jones Ott

RE: Primary Sclerosing Cholangitus
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, MD
Date: December 6, 2000 3:55 PM

To answer your questions: yes. You can get some idea of my approach to such problems from the answer to the previous posting.

As this is an educational website and as there is nothing yet written on this subject, I reproduce here the description of this condition from the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.

In primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), the bile ducts inside and outside the liver become inflamed and scarred. As the scarring increases, the ducts become blocked. The ducts are important because they carry bile out of the liver. Bile is a liquid that helps break down fat in food. If the ducts are blocked, bile builds up in the liver and damages liver cells. Eventually, PSC can cause liver failure.

Researchers do not know what causes PSC. Among the theories under investigation are the possible role of bacteria, viruses, and immune system problems. PSC appears to be associated with ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease.

The disease usually begins between ages 30 and 60 and is more common in men than women. PSC progresses slowly, so a person can have the disease for years before symptoms develop. The main symptoms are itching, fatigue, and jaundice, which causes yellowing of the eyes or skin. An infection in the bile ducts can cause chills and fever.

PSC is diagnosed through cholangiography, which involves injecting dye into the bile ducts and taking an x-ray. Treatment includes medication to relieve itching, antibiotics to treat infections, and vitamin supplements, as people with PSC are often deficient in vitamins A, D, and K. In some cases, surgery to open major blockages in the common bile duct is also necessary. Liver transplantation may be an option if the liver begins to fail.




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