Autoimmune hepatitis is an uncommon cause of persistent liver inflammation
When the body’s immune system turns against the liver cells, this condition is called as autoimmune hepatitis. The exact causes of autoimmune hepatitis are unclear, however the genetic and environmental factors are considered are majorly responsible for this condition. The autoimmune hepatitis may lead to scarring of the liver and finally its failure. There are two main forms of autoimmune hepatitis. Type 1 is the most common form of autoimmune hepatitis, may occur at any age, and goes with other autoimmune disorders like celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis or ulcerative colitis. Type 2 is common in children and young people.
The body’s immune system fights and neutralizes the virus, bacteria and pathogens that enter the body. During certain conditions, the auto-immune system triggers off to attack the liver causing damage to it, and leading to liver failure.
The signs and symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis include, fatigue, abdominal discomfort, yellowish skin, enlarged liver, abnormal blood vessels, skin rashes, joint pains and loss of menstruation.
RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS
The children of patients with autoimmune hepatitis are at increased risk of developing autoimmune diseases. If left untreated, the complications include, liver failure, scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), liver cancer, increased blood pressure in the portal vein that supplies blood to the liver, enlarged veins in your stomach and esophagus, and fluid accumulation in the abdomen (ascites).
TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS
On observing the symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis, the doctor may recommend for proper diagnosis. The blood test helps to rule-out viral hepatitis, determine the type of AIH, and check the condition of liver. Blood tests also help to know about the condition of anti-bodies in the blood that includes anti-smooth muscle antibody, anti-liver kidney microsome Type 1 antibody and anti-nuclear antibody. Blood tests also measure the amount of immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies in the blood. As part of advanced diagnosis, the doctor may also recommend a liver biopsy.
TREATMENTS AND DRUGS
The treatment process depends on the stage of the autoimmune hepatitis condition. In addition to drugs, the doctor may advise for liver transplant surgery, in which the patient’s liver is replaced with a donor organ.
Read more about symptoms, causes and treatment of different types of liver diseases.