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PSC is a chronic disease in which your bile ducts and liver get inflamed and swollen.
Over time, the bile ducts harden and become blocked causing bile to build up in the liver. This causes liver damage and can even lead to liver failure.
Damage can occur quickly or over many years, and doctors can't reverse it. Your doctor will focus on slowing down liver damage for as long as possible.
PSC is a relatively rare disease.
About 1 in 10,000 people have PSC. Doctors diagnose this disease in about 1 in 100,000 people per year worldwide.
Doctors don't know exactly what causes PSC.
The disease likely comes from an unknown combination of genetics and environment. This means your genes may make you at risk of getting the disease.
PSC affects at least twice as many men as women. Most people with this disease receive their diagnosis sometime between the ages of 30 and 50.
About 3 out of 4 people with PSC also have inflammatory bowel disease. This is most often ulcerative colitis, a severe inflammation of the intestines that causes ulcers and stomach pain.
People with PSC also:
Left untreated, PSC can lead to liver failure.
Doctors can't currently prevent someone from getting PSC.
This might change in the future if they can decode the genetics of this disease.
PSC is a serious chronic condition for which there is no cure. That means you will be dealing with the effects of this disease for decades.
UPMC's liver disease experts can help you slow the progression of your disease.
If your PSC leads to liver failure, you will need a liver transplant. Our experts partner closely with UPMC's world-renowned liver transplant. UPMC is 1 of the oldest and most skilled transplant centers in the country.
Also, UPMC is a national leader in living-donor liver transplants. By identifying a living donor, you may be able to receive a transplant sooner.
Even though PSC is a serious disease. Many people who have it don't have symptoms right away.
As the disease worsens, symptoms can come and go.
Symptoms of PSC include:
See your doctor if you have these symptoms. They could have many causes, so expect your doctor to run a range of tests to confirm a diagnosis.
Doctors may suspect PSC when routine blood tests have abnormal results, even if you don't have symptoms.
Your doctor will order tests to help diagnose PSC, including:
If you have PSC, your doctor will:
Lifestyle changes to help manage PSC include:
People with PSC are prone to getting liver-related infections. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics in this case.
Your doctor will also help you manage pain if needed.
If your bile ducts become blocked, your doctor may need to do minor surgery.
Types of surgery to open the ducts so that bile will no longer build up in your liver include:
If PSC causes severe cirrhosis or liver failure, you may need a liver transplant. Transplant provides the only known cure for PSC.
We work closely with the experts at UPMC Liver Transplant Services and guide you through each of the liver transplant process.