Chronic Autoimmune Hepatitis
A type of liver inflammation, autoimmune hepatitis is a serious condition that occurs when the body's immune system attacks its own liver cells. This condition can get worse over time if not treated; chronic cases can last for years. Although autoimmune hepatitis can affect people of any age, about 70 percent of those with the condition are women, typically between the ages of 15 and 40.
Autoimmune hepatitis symptoms can range from mild to severe. They may start out slowly or abruptly. They may also come and go over time.
Some of the most common symptoms at diagnosis include:
- Excessive tiredness
- A lack of appetite
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes).
With proper treatment, autoimmune hepatitis can usually be controlled. In fact, recent studies show that sustained response to treatment not only stops the disease from getting worse, but may also actually reverse some of the damage it causes.
(To learn more, click Autoimmune Hepatitis. This article features in-depth information on possible causes, medical conditions that have similar symptoms, and specific drugs used for treatment.)