Autoimmune hepatitis is the inflammation in the liver, which develops when the body’s immune mechanism attacks the liver cells. The precise cause of autoimmune hepatitis is a little ambiguous; however, some diseases, drugs and toxins are known to set off autoimmune hepatitis in vulnerable individuals, particularly women.
Left untreated and neglected, autoimmune hepatitis results in scarring of the liver and ultimately liver failure.
How Do You Get Autoimmune Hepatitis?
Autoimmune hepatitis develops when your body’s immune mechanism, which normally assaults bacteria, virus and other pathogens, starts attacking the liver cells. Why the body turns against itself is still not clear, but experts hypothesize that autoimmune hepatitis occurs due to an interaction between various risk factors, like medications, infections, and a genetic predilection.
- Type 1 autoimmune hepatitis: This is the commonest type and can develop at any age. Approximately half the people having type 1 autoimmune hepatitis have other autoimmune disorders as well, like, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroiditis or ulcerative colitis.
- Type 2 autoimmune hepatitis: This type is commoner in young girls and develops with other autoimmune problems.
Certain factors are known to raise your risk of autoimmune hepatitis; these are:
- Being female: Men as well as women can develop autoimmune hepatitis, however, it is commoner in women.
- Age: Type 1 develops at any age. Type 2 chiefly afflicts young girls.
- History of certain infections: The condition is known to occur after a viral or bacterial infection.
- Certain medicines: The antibiotic minocycline and the cholesterol drug atorvastatin have been linked to autoimmune hepatitis.
- Heredity: Substantiation proves that a tendency to develop autoimmune hepatitis runs in families.
- Having an autoimmune disease. People who have an autoimmune disease are more liable to develop autoimmune hepatitis.
Treatment Options For Autoimmune Hepatitis
The goal of the treatment is to slow down or stop the immune system from assaulting the liver. This may help slow the progression of the disease. Your health care provider will recommend certain drugs such as prednisone. An initial high dose of the drug prednisone is advocated, and then tapered off.
Most people take the medicine for about 2 years, and some remain on it for life. The condition tends to return when the drug is discontinued. Azathioprine is another immunosuppressant drug, which is prescribed along with prednisone.
When medications fail to pause the progression of the disease, or you develop cirrhosis or liver failure, a liver transplant is needed. The diseased liver is removed and replaced by a healthy one from a donor.
Living with autoimmune hepatitis can be vexing. Each one finds ways to tackle the stress of a chronic ailment. Learn all about autoimmune hepatitis. The more you comprehend what’s going on in your body, the more active you can be in the care. Eat well, exercise and get adequate rest; it will help you feel better.
Yoga and Pranayama have been proved decidedly beneficial in physical as well as mental well being. Steer clear of alcohol, and check with your physician before taking new medications. Also, talk to family and friends. Strong relationships and support play a vital role in helping you maintain a positive attitude.