Autoimmune hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, and this happens when the body’s immune system attacks its own liver cells. Though the exact cause of this disease is unknown and for this, the treatment can only help, as the condition is incurable.
As known, the environmental factors appear to affect the liver, thereby triggering autoimmune hepatitis. Autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic disease that can last years, and if it is left untreated, it can lead to cirrhosis.
Symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis vary from person to person, and it may even affect the body suddenly. Some people may not be able to recognise the symptoms in the early stages of autoimmune hepatitis, whereas some may experience the followings symptoms.
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Pain in joints
- Rashes on the skin
- Enlarged liver
- Jaundice (yellowish skin)
- Spider angiomas
- Slight fever
- Problem concentrating
- Early menopause
Even after various researches, the exact cause of autoimmune hepatitis is still a mystery that news to be solved by experts. In addition, there are some autoimmune conditions that can trigger autoimmune hepatitis.
- Ulcerative colitis
- Type 1 diabetes
- Celiac disease
- Hemolytic anemia
Experts have identified two types of autoimmune hepatitis to detect the level of damage.
Type 1: Type 1 autoimmune hepatitis is one of the most common ones. People with Type 1 autoimmune hepatitis are known to have other autoimmune disorders as well. It can affect anyone at any age.
Type 2: Type 2 autoimmune hepatitis is more prone to young people and children but in some cases can affect adults as well.
Below are some of the factors that may increase the risk of autoimmune hepatitis.
- Autoimmune hepatitis is very common in females than in males
- Autoimmune hepatitis may run in the family i.e. it may be a heredity disease
- History of infections like herpes, measles, or hepatitis A, B, or C
- Already have other autoimmune diseases like thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac diseases, etc.
The expert will go through the medical history of the patient before performing a physical exam. Below are some of the routine tests that are used to diagnose autoimmune hepatitis:
- Liver tests- To scan and check damage and inflammation of the liver
- Autoimmune antibodies test- To check if the patient has autoimmune hepatits or any other disease with similar signs and symptoms
- CBC or Complete blood count test- Numbers and type of cells in blood
- CT scan- To have a detailed image of the body to check for any other damage other tha liver damage
- Ultrasound- To have a clear picture of the organs
- Liver biopsy- Small piece taken to diagnose the type of liver disease under a microscope
The whole purpose of the treatment is to control the autoimmune hepatitis and reduce the effect of the condition. To do this, medication is given to help slow donw the severity of the disease. The medication helps to stop the immune system’s attack on the body. For the treatment to work, early detecton of the disease is essesntial or if it is left untreated it may lead to cirrhosis and to which the final treatment method is a liver transplant.