WHAT IS AUTOIMMUNE HEPATITIS


For a clear and simple version of the facts, click here. Otherwise,

Here’s my version

Foot-soldiers and Cavalry

Our body is a country with impressive armed forces (the immune system) made up of foot-soldiers (white blood cells – lymphocytes) and the cavalry (special proteins – antibodies). The purpose of the army – to protect and serve.

Friendly Fire

In special people like me (smile), the army misidentifies the liver as an enemy stronghold and dispatches a battalion of the cavalry to launch a full-scale military assault. The cavalry in turn assembles a special task force (auto-antibodies) to complete the mission, targeting and destroying all occupants (liver cells – hepatocytes).

Autoimmune hepatitis is the result.

So there you have it, a plain and simple case of mistaken identity or in military terms, an error of identification. Sometimes when I am sprawled diagonally across the bed, just too pooped to move, I swear, I can hear the rapid gunfire of the misdirected internal assault!

Medications
Some of My “Life-Savers,” – Get it?

Some basic facts about Autoimmune Hepatitis:

  • It is quite rare: an incidence of 1 – 2 per 100,000.
  • It affects mostly women – 70%
  • A predisposition to the disease MAY run in families.
Symptoms may include:
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • An enlarged liver
hand
Spider angionomas
  • Abnormal blood vessels on the skin (spider angiomas)
  • Skin rashes
  • Joint pains
  • In women, loss of menstruation
  • There is no known cure
  • It can lead to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), eventual liver failure and death.
Complications may include:
  • Esophageal varices – enlarged veins in your esophagus
  •  Ascites – fluid in your abdomen
  • Liver failure.
  • Liver cancer.

 

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