Autoimmune Hepatitis Treatment in Pinellas County, FL
Understanding Autoimmune Hepatitis
Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is the inflammation of the liver after it has been attacked by the body (an autoimmune response). The body's immune system is trained to recognize and destroy harmful bacteria and pathogens. If you suffer from autoimmune diseases, your body mistakes healthy cells for harmful cells and begins to attack itself. In this case, the body attacks cells in the liver, leading to chronic inflammation and damage of cells in the liver.
The disease is characterized by abdominal or joint pain, fatigue , and jaundice . The disease may occur chronically or be a lifelong issue. It is more common among women, the elderly and those with a history of bacterial or viral infections. Heredity is also believed to increase the risk of autoimmune hepatitis.
Types of Autoimmune Hepatitis
- Type 1 Autoimmune Hepatitis: Referred to as “classic” autoimmune hepatitis, this form of the disease is the most common and can appear at any stage of life. Many with classic autoimmune hepatitis have a number of other autoimmune disorders.
- Type 2 Autoimmune Hepatitis: This form of the disease is more common among women and, while it can occur at any stage of life, often appears at a younger age. This type of autoimmune hepatitis is often one of a number of related autoimmune disorders experienced by those suffering with the disease.
Symptoms of Autoimmune Hepatitis
Symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis include:
- Abdominal pain in the area of the liver
- Nausea and loss of appetite
- Joint pain
- Jaundice (the yellowing of the eyes and skin)
- Rashes and the swelling blood vessels (spider angiomas)
- Menstruation problems in women
Treating Autoimmune Hepatitis
While there is no cure for the disease, common treatment plans involve slowing or stopping the death of liver cells. This often means suppressing the immune system, which may increase vulnerability to many other diseases and illnesses. Medications used to treat AIH often include immunosuppressants. In more severe cases a liver transplant may be required.
Living with Autoimmune Hepatitis
Even with proper treatment and monitoring, living with autoimmune hepatitis can be a challenge and a burden. While mild cases of AIH are not commonly fatal, severe cases can lead to death, especially when a liver donor is not found. Remission is also possible with the proper care. Request more information about autoimmune hepatitis today. Call (813) 536-3212 or contact Dr. Christopher Van Benschoten online.
Address4691 Van Dyke Road
Lutz, FL 33558
7:00 am - 4:00 pm
Tue: 7:00 am - 4:00 pm
Thu: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Fri: 7:00 am - 4:00 pm