September 22, 2021

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Autoimmune Hepatitis

3 min read
Autoimmune Hepatitis

The liver is a vital organ in the human body, responsible for numerous different functions. However, various diseases can affect the liver and can be life-threatening if left untreated. After that, One such disease is autoimmune hepatitis.

Autoimmune hepatitis is a condition in which immune cells start to damage the cells of the liver.

An internal medicine specialist can diagnose autoimmune hepatitis. Similarly, You can visit an internal medicine specialist in Internal Medicine specialist in Lahore.

The immune system is responsible for fighting off germs and protecting them from infections. The cells of the immune system can recognize foreign invaders like bacteria, viruses and can differentiate them from the body’s cells. That is why the immune cells kill only the germs and not the own cells.

However, sometimes, things go wrong. After that, The immune system can not differentiate between foreign cells and the own cells of the body. It misidentifies them and ends up damaging these cells. That is how autoimmune hepatitis develops.

What causes autoimmune hepatitis?

The exact cause that triggers the immune response behind autoimmune hepatitis is unknown. However, certain factors are thought to play a role in autoimmune hepatitis, such as:

Genetic predisposition: Similarly, It has been noticed that patients who develop autoimmune hepatitis have some alterations in their genes. Some genes can get deleted, changing how immune cells behave, thereby playing a role in autoimmune hepatitis.

Infections: Along with genetic abnormalities, some infections, can trigger the immune response, causing autoimmune hepatitis, such as:

●         Hepatitis A

●         Hepatitis B

●         Hepatitis C

●         Epstein-Barr virus

●         Rubella

Risk factors for developing autoimmune hepatitis

In other words, Certain factors can increase the risk of developing autoimmune hepatitis in the future, such as:

●         Gender: Females develop autoimmune hepatitis more than males.

●         Family history: Since genes play a role in autoimmune hepatitis, having a family history of autoimmune hepatitis can increase the risk of developing it in an individual.

●         History of infections: A history of infections, especially those that affect the liver like viral hepatitis, can increase the risk of developing autoimmune hepatitis.

●         Coexisting autoimmune disease: The chances of developing autoimmune hepatitis are high in people who already have an autoimmune disease, such as:

■         SLE

■         Graves disease

■         Myasthenia gravis

■         Rheumatoid arthritis

Symptoms Of Autoimmune Hepatitis

The symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis vary from person to person. It may show itself as acute or chronic hepatitis.

The symptoms of acute hepatitis include:

●         Fever

●         Abdominal pain and tenderness

●         Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

The symptoms of chronic hepatitis can include:

●         Feeling tired

●         Joint pain

●         Body aches

●         Pain in the abdomen

●         Itching

●         Loss of appetite

●         Diarrhea

●         Weight loss

●         Skin rashes

●         Swelling of the legs and ankles

●         Absence of menstrual periods

●         Chest pain 

Sometimes, though rare, autoimmune hepatitis may not show symptoms until liver failure occurs that can show symptoms, such as:

●         Bruising of the skin or bleeding

●         Yellowing of the skin and eyes

●         Swelling of the abdomen

●         Confusion

●         Drowsiness

Treatment of autoimmune hepatitis

Autoimmune hepatitis is treated with corticosteroids- drugs that suppress the immune system. After that, Most patients benefit from corticosteroid therapy. In addition, Doctors may prescribe them for a lifetime to slow the progression of the disease.

 However, some patients may not respond well to corticosteroid therapy. Doctors may then suggest a liver transplant. In a liver transplant, After that, doctors replace the diseased liver with the healthy liver from the donor. 

Outlook

In conclusion, Autoimmune hepatitis is a treatable condition. If left untreated, it can cause permanent scarring of the liver tissue (cirrhosis), which may cause complete liver failure.

Above all, The presentation of autoimmune hepatitis is Similarly to other liver diseases. An internal medicine specialist can diagnose the condition and help you regarding the treatment. You can visit an internal medicine specialist in Internal Medicine Specialist in Islamabad.