Autoimmune Hepatitis

Autoimmune hepatitis pain

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview

The liver is located on the right side of the body, within the abdominal cavity and just below the diaphragm. It consists of four lobes or sections and performs a range of crucial functions related to metabolism and elimination of toxins. We don’t tend to think of it in this way, but the liver is, in fact, a gland. It secretes a yellowish-green alkaline liquid called bile that serves as a digestive juice. Like other internal organs, the liver can be afflicted by a variety of problems including trauma, infection, inflammation, obstruction, and scarring. In this article, we will take a look at a form of liver disease known as autoimmune hepatitis.

 

What Is Autoimmune Hepatitis?

‘Hepatitis’ is a generic term that refers to inflammation of liver tissue. There can be several different pathways to this. For instance, the liver may become inflamed in response to an infection, loss of blood supply or even excessive consumption of alcohol. Hepatitis can also occur as the outcome of the autoimmune activity. The term ‘autoimmunity’ describes any condition in which the body’s internal protective mechanism of immunity mistakenly targets the body’s own healthy tissues instead of attacking foreign matter or infectious agents. This gives rise to inflammation in the affected tissues.

Autoimmunity can manifest in several different ways. It can affect the skin, the joints or even the nervous system. When such an aberrant immune response targets the liver, the organ becomes inflamed and swollen. Hepatitis can be broadly classified as either acute or chronic depending on the duration of the condition. Generally, if it lasts longer than six months at a time, it is referred to as chronic in nature. Autoimmune hepatitis is generally considered to be a chronic form of hepatitis.

 

What Causes Autoimmune Hepatitis?

The mechanism responsible for inflammation of the liver in such cases is autoimmune activity. No one knows why the immune system sometimes acts aberrantly in this way. Some sources put it down to genetic predisposition. Scientists believe that autoimmune activity is present at some point in time in all bodies, even healthy ones. Usually, this is benign and does not cause significant symptoms or disease. It is only when the autoimmune response is severe that it gives rise to disease as in the case of hepatitis. Although the precise cause for autoimmune hepatitis remains poorly understood, we know of certain risk factors that make some people more susceptible than others:

  • In general, women are more likely than men to suffer from autoimmune disorders.
  • Genetic predisposition may have a part to play as well. Having a family history of autoimmune disorders can increase one’s own risk of developing such disorders.
  • Having other autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, systemic lupus erythematosus or Sjogren’s syndrome, can elevate your risk of developing autoimmune hepatitis as well.

 

What Are The Symptoms?

AUTOIMMUNE HEPATITIS liverThe manifestations of autoimmune hepatitis in terms of symptoms vary widely from one individual to the next. Some may be completely asymptomatic, hence unaware of the condition altogether. Others may develop symptoms like those of acute hepatitis. Yet others may experience a gradual onset of symptoms in the long term. In certain cases, symptoms can set in rapidly and proceed aggressively within a short span of time even leading to liver failure. Hence, the experience of autoimmune hepatitis is highly variable.

Regardless, there are certain common symptoms to look out for:

  • Yellowing of eyes.
  • Yellowing of skin.
  • Itching.
  • Nausea.
  • Joint pain.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Fatigue.
  • Skin rashes.
  • Dark coloured urine.
  • Light coloured stools.
  • Discomfort or pain in the abdominal area.
  • Pale stools. Amenorrhea. This is a condition in which menstrual periods remain absent for long stretches of time.

 

What Are The Different Types Of Autoimmune Hepatitis?

There are two main forms of autoimmune hepatitis. These are discussed below in brief:

  • Type 1 Autoimmune Hepatitis: This type can affect individuals of any age and tends to be associated with other forms of autoimmune disease.
  • Type 2 Autoimmune Hepatitis: This type tends to affect younger individuals, often children, although adults can be affected too.

 

What Are Some Complications Related To Autoimmune Hepatitis?

Untreated autoimmune hepatitis can produce a range of secondary problems. Some possible complications are listed below:

 

What Tests Are Needed To Diagnose It? What Treatment Will I Need?

Upon presentation of symptoms such as jaundice and abdominal discomfort, your doctor may immediately suspect a problem with the liver. For further clarity, you may need to have your blood tested for markers pointing to inflammation. An ultrasound may be performed in order to assess the condition of the liver. A set of investigations known as liver function tests may also be performed. Confirmation requires a biopsy of liver tissue.

AUTOIMMUNE HEPATITIS infectionGenerally speaking, earlier diagnosis is preferred as it can help manage the symptoms better and prevent the condition from worsening. Autoimmune hepatitis cannot be cured but it can certainly be managed effectively so that the patient is able to resume normal activities.

If autoimmune hepatitis is not causing any discernable issues, then the doctor might not recommend any strict treatment method. In such cases, routine liver biopsy tests are conducted to ensure that the liver is in a healthy state. In case the symptoms are severe, the doctor may prescribe medications aimed at reducing inflammation.  Mostly, steroids such as prednisone are prescribed in addition to immunity-boosting drugs. In 8 out of 10 patients with autoimmune hepatitis, the condition is controlled by the help of medications within 3 years of treatment.

While autoimmune diseases have no specific preventive measures, one can still prevent liver disorders by keeping your liver healthy and protected from infections. This includes:

  • Getting a complete treatment for liver infections.
  • Refraining from alcohol consumption and following a high-sugar diet.
  • Controlling cholesterol levels and maintaining a healthy BMI.
  • Not resorting to self-medication.
  • Eating loads of fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables.

 

 

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • A diet rich in dark green leafy vegetables is best suited for patients with autoimmune hepatitis.
  • Consuming black coffee can be beneficial for the patients but in regulated amounts.
  • Have a regular physical fitness routine.
Don'ts
  • Consume alcohol. Anything that weakens the liver worsens the condition.
  • Try crash diets to lose weight fast.
  • Indulge in a high –calorie and/or high-sugar diet.

 

 

 

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Bromelain: 11 reasons why you should start adding pineapple to your pizza! If you didn't love pineapples already, here are some of the top health benefits that bromelain can bring…
The right way to prepare Alfalfa sprouts at home Alfalfa or lusan ghas is not just a nutritious animal fodder. This flavonoid-rich herb has some amazing health…
Love tea, hate tannins? Rooibos tea is just what you need The market is brimming with a multitude of herbal teas. But what makes rooibos tea (or red bush)…
Fibromyalgia fatigue
HCG Diet: The dangers of using this diet to lose weight HCG is a natural hormone produced by both men and women that corresponds to fertility. But how is…
How accurate is the hair follicle drug test? Hair follicle drug test is one of the best ways to identify drug use in professional circles. But…
Urologist: When should you visit one and why? A urologist can treat not only genitourinary problems of both men and women but also can treat various…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
Bronchoscopy procedure
Bronchoscopy Bronchoscopy is a procedure where in a scope is inserted into the lung pathway to observe any growth…
amylase test
Amylase Test Amylase test is done by checking the level of this protein in the blood sample and also in…
BULIMIA NERVOSA vomiting
Can you get addicted to food? Learn everything about food addiction What is food addiction? How can people get addicted to eating? Is it an unhealthy eating habit or…
Period sanitary napkin-menstruaion-blood-colors
Period blood – what it says about your health Your period blood color and consistency indicate what is happening in your body. Is your blood bright red…
Sweeteners-good or bad?
Sweeteners – Are They Good or Bad for Our Health? Sweeteners can be artificial and natural. Learn about the different types of sweeteners and their health benefits and…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
avocado benefits
Avocado: 15 reasons why this fruit should be a staple in your diet Did you know that the word avocado literally means "testicles". Don't get grossed out as this power-packed fruit…
green poop causes
Green poop : What are the reasons and how can you correct it Ever sneak a peek down the toilet only to shockingly find green poop? Why does our poop turn…
black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find out why should…
edamame
Edamame: How healthy are these green baby beans? Edamame or "immature" soybeans are soft and easily digestable forms of soybeans that are great as an eveyday…
Oil of Oregano: The one-stop essential oil you’ve been looking for Are you plagued by a weak immune system? High body inflammation accompanied by pain and infections? Why not…
Cayenne: The remarkable benefits of these red hot chili peppers These may make you rush for a glass of water, but cayenne pepper is actually a healthy additive…
Did you know drinking alkaline water could be the healthier choice for you? Ever wondered how safe is your drinking water in terms of pH? Recent studies have revealed that Alkaline…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
How seitan proved to be a blessing in disguise for vegans worldwide Can only meat-eaters enjoy delicious juicy steaks and burgers? With seitan, the best meat substitute available today,even vegans…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
Goji berry: A traditional Chinese berry that packs the best of antioxidants Goji berry is an ancient berry that is considered to be power-packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Which means…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
SIBO Diet: The important dos and don’ts of this gut-healing diet A SIBO diet is a diet that works by eliminating certain sugars from your diet and adding fibers…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
colposcopy
Colposcopy Colposcopy is a simple, quick and non- invasive diagnostic tool to look closely inside the vulva, vagina, and…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
folate test
Folate test The Folate test measures and monitors the levels of folic acid in the blood. This test is also…
lipase test
Lipase Test A lipase test is a blood test performed to quantitatively measure the level of the enzyme lipase in…
rosacea-treatment--before-_-after
The best and safest ways to treat rosacea Rosacea is a skin disease that is characterized by reddish hives and rashes on the face. Read more…
Hepatitis A virus infected liver
Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Total Blood test to look for IgM antibodies to know if you are infected with Hepatitis A virus (HAV),…
kshar sutra
Kshar sutra treatment for piles, fissures and fistula Read to know the benefits and side effects of kshar sutra to treat anal piles, fissures, and fistula…
Splenda
Splenda Splenda is an artificial sweetener derived from Stevia plant extracts. It is low in calories and a popular…
quinoa salad
Quinoa : A prodigious superfood you need to include in your diet today! Quinoa - what is so special about this native South American grain that has taken the world by…

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