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Autoimmune Hepatitis: Symptoms, causes and treatment

  • Posted on- Jun 29, 2015
  • 2713 Views

Autoimmune hepatitis or autoimmune chronic hepatitis is a condition in which the body suffers from continuous liver inflammation. In autoimmune hepatitis, the body’s immune system attacks the healthy living liver cells, which triggers the inflammation. Most doctors think that this condition is genetic, and autoimmune hepatitis is mostly found in women. There are two types of autoimmune hepatitis Type 1 and Type 2, of which Type 1 is most common. Autoimmune hepatitis can result in cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver and (ultimately) liver failure. It can start at any age, but most of the time it first sets in during the young adulthood.

Symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis

Autoimmune hepatitis is very hard to recognize or even suspect because of the fact that the disease can have a sudden onset after it was ‘asleep’ for a long period of time or its symptoms can gradually worsen over long periods of time. Very often, people have almost no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. The most common symptoms are:

Causes of Autoimmune Hepatitis

Medical science is still not sure what causes autoimmune hepatitis. Why does the immune system of the body start attacking the liver cells are something that doctors are still unable to discover. Some medical reports have made their own observations which state that some White Blood Cells in addition to destroying harmful toxins from the body mistakenly take healthy liver cells as unhealthy cells and start attacking them. Various other factors which are considered as potential causes are hepatitis B and C, intake of certain kinds of medications and drugs, and high amounts of metals, such as copper and lead, found in the liver. Some doctors even say that extensive alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking can be responsible for autoimmune hepatitis.

Treatment of Autoimmune Hepatitis

The best way to get treated from this deadly disease is to start your treatment early. With proper diagnosis, autoimmune hepatitis can be controlled, and in some cases the medications have controlled the disease to an extent. Medications which are given are immune-suppression drugs which calm down an overactive immune system. Type 1 autoimmune hepatitis can be treated, but patients suffering from Type 2 face a hard time, as Type 2 doesn’t respond well to medication. In most cases, the symptoms disappear after some months of starting the treatment but it’s necessary to be in touch with your doctor on a regular basis. After sometime people can stop the treatment but there are chances that the disease may reappear which is why continuous lab tests and blood tests should be done. Treatment will differ from patient to patient. The main goal of the treatment is to control or cure the disease. Not all patients will respond well to medications, those who don’t improve are certainly on the advanced stage and such patients are unlikely to respond to any medical treatments. In such cases a liver transplant is the best option.

Autoimmune hepatitis is a mysterious disease because of the lack of knowledge in conventional medicine on the causes of the disease.

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