Know your Numbers

We encourage patients to play an active role in the management of their PBC, working in partnership with their clinicians. Understanding your blood test results and how they affect you is one aspect of this.

A closeup up of the arm of a PBC patient after they've had a routine blood test.

What are your numbers?

Liver Tests (aka live biochemistry, liver function tests or LFTs), track the health of your liver and the processes occurring within it. Important PBC markers that are monitored by LFTs include alkaline phosphatase (ALP)bilirubin and albumin. A change in the levels of these three markers can highlight potential risk of disease progression.

ALP levels rise. A rise in ALP levels indicates impaired bile flow in the liver.
Bilirubin levels rise. Raised bilirubin can sometimes be an indicator of liver damage.
Albumin levels drop. A drop in albumin levels is associated with liver disease which can lead to the scarring of liver tissues (fibrosis or cirrhosis).

What should you be looking for?

You should hopefully be undergoing regular liver tests so your doctor can monitor your results and make sure your numbers are as close to normal as possible.

The healthy ranges for ALP, bilirubin and albumin are considered to be:

ALP:35- ~140 IU/L
Bilirubin:<17 µmol/L or <1.2mg/dL
Albumin35-55 g/L

If your numbers change or don’t fall within these ranges, you should speak to your doctor about your PBC management plan. It is important to remember that PBC is different for everyone, and healthy ranges can vary.

Knowing your numbers is the best way to own your PBC. To learn more, watch our video.

How can you track your numbers?

The PBC Foundation has created an app designed to support your daily life with PBC and further empower you to become an informed partner in your medical care. The app uses a variety of tools to help you know your numbers, monitor your disease, and support you on a range of emotional, psychological, and physical self-management techniques.

To help you know your numbers, the app contains trackers for: a whole range of test results, symptoms, mood, medicines, and appointments.

Weight monitoring

Hopefully you will have been prescribed UDCA (also known as URSO, or Ursodeoxycholic Acid) to try and slow down the progress of your disease, which may be indicated by reduced levels of ALP. Alongside monitoring ALP, bilirubin and albumin numbers when taking UDCA, it is also important to monitor your weight. Guidelines recommend 13-15mg/Kg per day so keeping track of any weight changes and modifying your dose accordingly ensures that you are receiving the maximum treatment benefit.

We have developed the PBC Foundation Urso Dose Calculator to help you check and track that your Urso dose is right for your weight.

Liver Function Tests (LFTs)

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