Autoimmune hepatitis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the liver. It usually takes years for patients with this disease to remission; some even require a liver transplant. It affects about one in 100,000 people and is more common in women than men. Most people with this disease are in their 40s or 50s. But girls as young as two years old are also at risk.
Type 1 autoimmune hepatitis
Autoimmune hepatitis is a disease in which the body's immune system attacks its tissues and organs. It normally makes large amounts of antibodies to combat infections. Sometimes, environmental triggers such as certain bacteria, viruses, toxins, and medications cause autoimmunity. People of all ethnicities and sexes are at risk of developing this disease.
A physical exam and blood tests can make a diagnosis. A liver biopsy may be required to confirm a diagnosis. While symptoms may be similar to those of a common cold, autoimmune hepatitis can be more serious. Patients with chronic inflammation of the liver often experience jaundice. This occurs when the liver cannot effectively remove bilirubin, the substance that gives blood its red color. In addition, bilirubin can make a person's urine dark in color and make their skin itchy. The condition of the liver can also interfere with the production of bile salts, which help digest fats.
Type 2 autoimmune hepatitis
Treatment for Type 2 autoimmune hepatitis includes a combination of medications. The goal is to stop the immune system from attacking the liver. The most common medication is prednisone, but other treatments are available. After a successful course of treatment, the patient may experience remission. However, the disease may recur if treatment is discontinued. If this happens, a liver transplant may be needed.
Diagnosing autoimmune hepatitis involves a combination of histological, laboratory, and clinical findings. A liver biopsy may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. This procedure is typically performed using a needle through a percutaneous route. Some autoimmune hepatitis patients develop jaundice. This is caused by an impaired liver's ability to remove bilirubin. Bilirubin is produced when the liver breaks down hemoglobin, the substance that gives the blood red color. Bilirubin causes dark urine and can make the skin itchy. In addition to liver damage, chronic liver inflammation may also interfere with the normal function of bile salts, which help digest fats.
Type 3 autoimmune hepatitis
There is no single known cause of autoimmune hepatitis, but researchers believe that environmental, genetic, and immunologic factors play a role. In addition to exposure to certain viruses, certain prescribed drugs can also trigger the disease. Some of these medications include nitrofurantoin and hydralazine. Other possible causes of autoimmune hepatitis include herpes simplex virus and viral hepatitis.
Among the different types of autoimmune hepatitis, type 3 is the least understood. Antibodies characterize this type as the soluble liver antigen and the liver pancreas. Symptoms of the disease are similar to those of classical type 1 autoimmune hepatitis.
Liver transplant surgery for autoimmune hepatitis
Liver transplant surgery is an option for people affected by autoimmune hepatitis. This disease causes the immune system to attack healthy liver cells, causing inflammation, fibrosis, and liver failure. Eventually, some people may need liver transplant surgery to stop the disease and save their lives. Fortunately, there are several different ways to treat this condition. Learn about your options today.
Liver transplant surgery is a surgical procedure that replaces the damaged liver with a healthy donor liver. Liver transplant surgery can be effective in some cases, but it's important to understand that autoimmune hepatitis is not curable by medication. In some cases, patients may go into remission, meaning that their symptoms go away for a short time. In other cases, the disease may recur after treatment.