Autoimmune Hepatitis is a liver condition in which the body’s immune system fights against the cells in liver.
Doctors believe that genetic factors and environmental issues trigger this condition, causing liver cirrhosis or scarring of the liver and may eventually lead to liver failure.
If diagnosed early, autoimmune hepatitis can be contained with the help of drugs that suppress immune system. However, drugs fail to treat the condition in advanced stages.
Signs and Symptoms:
Signs and symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis differ from person to person and can be triggered suddenly. The regular symptoms usually include extreme fatigue, discomfort in the stomach, yellowing of the eyes and skin, enlarged liver, rashes, joint pains and clearly visible blood vessels on the skin.
Since autoimmune system which fights against viruses, bacteria targets liver in this condition, it causes severe damage and inflammation to the liver cells. Doctors have classified autoimmune hepatitis into two types based on the age group.
Type 1 Autoimmune Hepatitis:
A most common condition, it can affect any age group. People suffering from stage 1 also face other health issues like celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis or ulcerative colitis.
Type 2 Autoimmune Hepatitis:
This condition is mostly found in children and in young adults.
Women are more prone to autoimmune hepatitis than men, while few infections like measles, herpes simplex, and hepatitis A, B, C can also cause this disease. Other risk factors are hereditary and other autoimmune diseases.
If untreated autoimmune hepatitis can cause enlarged veins in esophagus blocking blood flow to the stomach that may cause internal bleeding. It can also lead to large amounts of fluid accumulation in the stomach, liver failure and liver cancer in few cases.
Diagnosis And Treatment:
Autoimmune hepatitis is diagnosed by running few blood tests and a liver biopsy to assess the amount of damage caused to the liver.
The treatment focusses on slowing down or completely stopping the attack of immune system on liver. This helps the progression of disease to advanced stages, however long-term medications can cause other health issues like diabetes, osteoporosis, cataracts, glaucoma and obesity.
Talk to your doctor about right medication in treating autoimmune hepatitis.