PBC Foundation
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another autoimmune disease?

When I saw my specialist she also tested me for autoimmune hepatitis along with Pbc - from what I've read the presence of another autoimmune disease as well as pbc isn't good and means a person is progressing farther.

i think i have arthritis (i'm 41) but started noticing some pain in my index finger joints (hard to unscrew a bottle of water now) and now i feel it it all my hand joints sometimes. yesterday my joints were swelling and there was swelling in my hands.

I am nervous what this will mean if i do have arthritis...i know some of the information online isn't accurate - so can someone tell me is that true? is the presence of another autoimmune disease mean i could be progressing in this disease (pbc)

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I've never personally heard this Becca, but that doesn't mean it isn't right. I do know that having one autoimmune disease seems to predispose you to other AI's and that they tend to have little common groupings eg PBC and sjogrens and probable others in that same group (sorry brain not focussing this evening lol) With any online research that you do (and most of us do) the most important thing is to make sure the websites are trustworthy eg BMJ, NIH, Hospital sites like Mayo or john Hopkins in the states, and places like the PBC foundation. There's so much rubbish on some sites that just propagates out of date info and just plain incorrect info. xx


good to know thanks - I know some of the info online for PBC isn't accurate - so I wanted to check with you guys :)


Hello Becca75.

It seems to be said that anyone with an auto-immune condition can acquire another one but it isn't necessarily so.

I had antibodies checks the year (2010) I was diagnosed with PBC (I saw my GP with itching that was at the time 24hrs a day) and apart from the AMAs that can be a marker for PBC all mine except the AMAs were negative.

I don't think it means that if you have acquired another auto-immune condition it means that PBC has progressed.

Did you by any chance request the free dvd all about PBC from Liver North at all? If not why not request as that will give you quite a lot of information. (I never watched it all, my husband did but I got mine about 4yrs ago now.) British LIver Trust is another organisation who publish leaflets online for you to download and read/save. There is one on PBC as well as all the other liver disorders and one on diet in liver disease too.

I think when we have PBC we can be more prone to bone issues due to vitamin malabsorption (Vitamin D is one) so I think that is another possibility that we can have creaky bones and also some that cause us pain. I am now 52 and I find that later at night I sometimes start feeling a tad stiff regardless of what I have done during the day. I am now 52 so put part of it down to not only having PBC but getting older and also the fact I am not far off completing the menopause when it is said females can be more prone to bone related issues.



I am in the UK as you will probably have gathered, I am not overly-familiar with other websites in other countries.

I orginally came across PBC in a library reference book myself and then found the PBC Foundation online and the others also. I tend to try to use trusted sites if I can (as you never know these days) and we have the NHS ones here too.

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I did - I have the DVD (just haven't had a chance to watch it yet but I'm looking forward to checking it out) :) I also want my family to watch it so they understand more


Hi never been told it's making you worse but if you have 1 autoimmune you are more likely to get others unfortunately I have psoasis, psoriatic arthritis, under active thyroid and pbc and having biopsy this week to see if I have autoimmune hepatitis or fatty liver! I'm 45 if you have arthritis ( get your gp to refer you to get it diagnosed) they can treat it so try not to worry too much.x

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I would say no, developing other autoimmune conditions is not a sign that PBC is progressing. Elevated ALP and Bilirubin blood tests indicate that PBC could be progressing. Imaging scans showing scar tissue on or near the bile ducts indicate that PBC is progressing.

Developing other autoimmune conditions indicate dysfunction in the immune system response. When there is inflammation in the body, the immune system is triggered and sometimes it goes haywire and attacks your own tissues, mistaking them for foreign invaders.

A dysfunctioning immune system lowers your overall health, which can affect PBC in an indirect way. It is my understanding that any stress on the body can cause inflammation. Too much inflammation can trigger an autoimmune flare up. So it is important to monitor the liver regularly to see if those direct indicators (blood tests and imaging) are showing new damage and therefore progression of PBC.

If stress and inflammation are kept to a minimum, and the immune system is kept as healthy as possible, it reduces the risk of flare up. For example, I take extra Vitamin C to help support immune system function. Also, I try to eat in a way that keeps my blood sugar stable. Blood glucose uses the same biochemical pathways as Vitamin C to enter cells. The pathway is regulated by insulin. So when blood sugar is up, it competes with Vitamin C and blocks its absorption. The immune system cannot function as well. I read one study that showed the immune system function dropped to 30% when blood sugar was high.

Anyway, my point is that additional autoimmune conditions mean the immune system is weakened, not necessarily that PBC is getting worse.


Three years ago I was in a big car accident - have been dealing with chronic pain ever since (in my back, lower back and neck) it's inflammation. I wonder if that had something to do with triggering my immune system to go off. Interesting. I forget where I read that a sign of a second autoimmune (or additional ones) means the PBC is progressing faster - I read it online somewhere (just forget the site).

But good to know - thanks :)


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