Autoimmune Hepatitis (AIH)

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Autoimmune hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver which occurs especially when the immune system of your body turns against your liver cells. Untreated autoimmune hepatitis can usually lead to liver scarring or cirrhosis and even can lead to liver failure. When the disease is diagnosed as well as treated early autoimmune hepatitis can often be controlled with medicine which suppresses the immune system. Usually a liver transplant can be an only option when autoimmune hepatitis actually does not respond to treatments of drugs or in certain cases of advanced liver disease. The real cause of the disease autoimmune hepatitis is very unclear, yet genetic as well as environmental factors usually appear to interact over time thus triggering the disease.

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Autoimmune Hepatitis (AIH)

Types of autoimmune hepatitis The two main forms of autoimmune hepatitis are as follows:
  • Type 1 autoimmune hepatitis: 
The most common type of autoimmune hepatitis disease is the Type 1. Age isn’t a barrier for it. It normally can occur at any age. Half the people with type 1 disease usually have other autoimmune disorders like celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis or else ulcerative colitis
  • Type 2 autoimmune hepatitis:
It is the most common type of autoimmune hepatitis in children as well as young people, though adults can also develop type 2 autoimmune hepatitis. Certain other autoimmune diseases can also accompany this type of autoimmune hepatitis disease.

Autoimmune Hepatitis Diagnosis and Treatment:

Autoimmune hepatitis disease usually involves the following treatment procedures: Prior to the Treatment:
  • Your doctor will question you about your symptoms during your first visit for consultation
  • Medications that you take as well as alcohol you drink will be asked in order to diagnose the problem
  • Blood tests to rule out certain other viral hepatitis will be advised by your doctor to be taken. 
  • Autoimmune hepatitis blood tests can usually spot things which are called autoantibodies. It might be a sign of autoimmune hepatitis disease. Also certain other blood tests can also tell you whether your liver is affected
  • Biopsy will also be asked by your doctor to be taken. Usually your doctor will take out a small piece of liver in order to look at the cells under the microscope
During the Treatment:
  • Your doctor will prescribe you with prednisone which is a steroid that can ease inflammation
  • You will be started off autoimmune hepatitis medication with a high dose and then your doctor will lower it with azathioprine or Imuran or with 6-mercaptopurine which otherwise called as Purinethol in order to weaken your immune system
  • In certain cases your doctor will ask you to take prednisone or mycophenolate mofetil in order to weaken your immune system
Autoimmune Hepatitis Prognosis, Post Treatment and Recovery:
  • After almost 3 years of treatment, in most of the cases about 80% of people feel recovered and find that their condition is under control. 
  • Many people can also stop their treatment. However, your doctor still keeps an eye on your health since if your signs and symptoms come back, you’ll be asked to start treatment again
  • Autoimmune hepatitis cirrhosis or liver failure would require the transplantation of liver surgery in the future. This will help to replace damaged liver with a healthy one from a your donor
Autoimmune Hepatitis Diet:
  • Lifestyle changes as well as eating a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits will be asked by your doctor to be done
  • A mix of whole grains, nuts, lean meats, as well as fish works normally works best for most people who want to meet nutritional needs thus helping them to maintain a healthy weight. 
  • A diet that is high in fiber, in particular, can also help the liver function to be run at an optimal level
Autoimmune Hepatitis Risk Factors: Few of the associated risk factors that can increase AIH or autoimmune hepatitis are as follows:
  • Being female
  • Infections related history
  • Hereditary
  • Having autoimmune disease
Autoimmune Hepatitis Complications: Few of the associated complications that can complicate AIH or autoimmune hepatitis are as follows:
  • Enlarged veins in the esophagus (esophageal varices)
  • Ascites or fluid in the abdomen
  • Liver failure
  • Liver cancer

Symptoms

Symptoms of the autoimmune hepatitis in fact differs from person to person. It may even come on suddenly. In most of the cases, people have few symptoms and some few. Some of the signs of autoimmune hepatitis are as follows:

  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Skin yellowing and also whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Enlarged liver
  • Spider angiomas or abnormal blood vessels in the skin 
  • Skin rashes or acne
  • Joint pain or muscle pain
  • Menstrual periods loss
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Gallstones
  • Hepatic encephalopathy or brain issues

Causes

Though doctors are unsure on what causes autoimmune hepatitis disease in people, few of the causes that is thought to possibly cause AIH are as follows:

  • Autoimmune hepatitis can usually run in families and can be passed on to the other member of the family by genes
  • Medicines like statins as well as hydralazine that is used to treat heart problems can cause autoimmune hepatitis
  • Antibiotics such as nitrofurantoin as well as minocycline causes AIH
  • Stress is also an another factor
  • Infections like viral hepatitis, measles, herpes and also Epstein-Barr

FAQ

1. Is autoimmune hepatitis contagious?

Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is actually a non-contagious, inflammatory and chronic autoimmune disease where one's own immune system attacks their own healthy, normal liver cells.

2. What is the life expectancy of autoimmune hepatitis?

Treatment with corticosteroids can improve the chance of survival of the individual affected significantly. However without any treatment, almost 50% of patients with autoimmune hepatitis that’s severe can die in 5 years approximately

3. What is the diagnosis criteria of autoimmune hepatitis?

The diagnostic criteria of autoimmune hepatitis usually requires compatible laboratory presence

4. Is autoimmune hepatitis genetic?

Autoimmune hepatitis usually results from the combination of autoimmunity, genetic predisposition and environmental triggers.It is not an inherited disease.

5. Can autoimmune hepatitis be cured?

Autoimmune hepatitis can only be controlled yet not cured. This is the reason why most patients will almost need to take the medicine for years. In most of the cases, for a lifetime.

6. Is autoimmune hepatitis fatal?

AIH was once a lethal disease with dismal prognosis, however with treatment with corticosteroids, the scenario has changed the course of the disease nowadays.