PBC and smoking

I've been doing some research and can't seem to find a definitive response. Now, I know that smoking is terrible.. for anyone, especially someone with PBC (I have not been diagnosed, by the way, but it has been confirmed that I have a positive AMA.. Also, my mother & aunt both have PBC so, i'm pretty confident that I have early stage PBC). I have quit smoking since my AMA has come back positive. My question is, does anyone know if a HISTORY of smoking has a huge effect on PBC?? I'm so scared that my history of smoking will cause the the PBC progress faster than usual or something. BTW, as of right now all of my liver function tests are normal and I am asymptomatic. Has anyone on the board with PBC have a history of smoking or know any info regarding this? Thank you so much!

10 Replies

  • Hello emetobella1229.

    I personally do not think smoking is good for anyone who has not got PBC and I don't think wise if you are diagnosed with it. My mother-in-law died recently after being diagnosed with COPD a few years ago, caused by being lifelong smoker. My parents told myself and 2 siblings not to smoke, it was a hard thing to give up. I've never smoked nor my siblings but we were raised in a house with 2 smokers.

    I know that cigarettes contain quite a lot of chemicals and I expect the liver might have to deal with some of these as they are toxins to the body.

    I have found this on our UK NHS website about PBC and smoking is listed. I beg to differ about certain triggers as there seems conflicting info but I do think that there has to be some trigger that we have all encountered in our lives and until that time I personally do not take it all on board.

    Now you are diagnosed with PBC I don't think it will alter anything if you have quit smoking and have no health problems due to it. I also think that it might not be good to dwell on something that you have no control over here. I've gone through allsorts myself since being diagnosed with PBC Dec 2010 (aged 46) about what I might have done, didn't do to acquire PBC.

    Unlike myself who had abnormal bloods and also itching (fatigue back then) that led to PBC diagnosis and the starting of urso Dec 2010 you have the heads up that you are asymptomatic currently and your bloods are normal. (I was found to have a high titre of the antibodies (AMAs) that gave the diagnosis.)

    You may never go on to have any symptons of PBC nor your bloods alter, it is possible. Meanwhile I think it does pay to look after yourself now you know you have PBC as to me anything that is less stress on the liver has surely to better.


  • Like Peridot has said below she didn't smoke and has PBC so don't be to hard on yourself, it's not your fault XX

  • I have never smoked either - my parents did though, a lot, passive smoker for 11 years. I don't drink, never have, alcohol just doesn't do anything for me. No other drugs either, I eat too much suger and have taken too little exercise for sure. It would be interesting to know if I have caused the PBC somehow but I agree with everyone else - none of the most apparent bad life-style choices seem to be the cause of PBC.

    I am hoping it is a sort of virus and that a cure will be found in my life time. Good for you that you have been able to quit smoking! I know it is hard!


  • I smoked every day for 40 years, did it cause pbc I dont think anyone can answer that, it may be in some reasearch papers as a possible environmental trigger , but so was nail varnish, hair dye and I even read somewhere about our water supply so I pay little heed to it.

    Anyway I stopped some years back when the consultant said it was imperitive that I did, this was due to stroke risk as I had a high red blood count, not caused by the pbc but by the smoking.

    My LFT's have been stable (borderline for someone with pbc whatever that actually means) for 6 years.

    Has stopping smoking helped with the pbc, I think without all those nasty chemical for my liver to deal with must have been some benifit although my LFT,s are still the same. It took over a year for the red blood count to drop back to normal, so stopping was the best thing I ever did.

    It was not easy and those who know me still can't beleive fag ash LiL has quit for good but it's wonderful not to be a slave to nicotine, I can defiantly say I am one of those awful ex smokers i really can't bear to be around the smell now and I am proud to be a non smoker.

    So well done for stopping its not easy to do.

  • I hope u don't mind me asking.. What age were u at diagnosis? What stage?

  • I was 56, I don't now the stage as I was dx by being AMA positive and abnormal LFT's.

    I refused a biopsy as it was not needed for a dx only to stage and to be honest the scan I had was said to be normal so that was enough for me.

    I didn't want to know anything further and preferred to go on how I felt and still do. I have an annual scan and 6 monthly bloods, which are still borderline for someone with PBC. I feel pretty good pbc wise and still work full time.

    Take care

  • Thanks so much for all of your responses. I'm aware that what exactly triggers pbc is unknown. I don't put much thought into that, as in my case, I'm sure lies heavily on genetic disposition. Thanks for all of your encouraging words regarding my decision to quit. After I was told that I was AMA positive, it was pretty easy to make that decision. My question was more so based around the progression of the disease for someone that has a history of smoking opposed to a someone with no history.. But, I'm guessing research has not 100% covered that at this point. Again, thanks for taking the time to respond!

  • In Spain I was told it could be one of the chemical triggers but nothing concrete. In France they have an excellent web page for pbc and most of it can also be read in English. They say that smoking can advance pbc, here is the link albi-france.org/maladies/ci...

    if I live till 80 years I am going to take up smoking and drinking again, in fact I might start with a cigar and a nice glass of Rioja on my 80th birthday.

  • Lol that's a good idea

  • Smoking increases the risk of PBC, but I've not seen any evidence that the disease progresses faster in smoker than non-smokers. In fact, to use an analogy, being female increases your risk of PBC, but the disease progresses, on average, faster in males than females. So I don't think you should beat yourself up! :)

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