Autoimmune Hepatitis Essay

1442 words - 6 pages

Advancements in medicine and technology have allowed scientists to discover new diseases as well as treatments for some. Autoimmune hepatitis is among the diseases where a cure in unavailable. In 1950, Waldenström discovered autoimmune hepatitis in young women (Wolf). Originally called lupoid hepatitis, lupus was thought to be the cause of autoimmune hepatitis (Frey, Longe, and Ricker). If symptoms of AIH are detected early, treatment for better life quality can be accomplished with medication instead of transplantation.
The second largest organ in the human body is the liver. It weighs on an average of 3 pounds. It filters out harmful substances in blood and turns what we eat and drink into energy the body can use (American Liver Foundation).The liver is a vital organ in the human body, almost as import as the heart.
Autoimmune hepatitis is life threatening form of liver inflammation, in which the body’s immune system attacks liver cells causing scarring otherwise known as cirrhosis, liver failure, and if not caught in time transplantation (Mayo Clinic Staff). “Scientists don’t know why the body attacks itself in this way, although heredity and prior infections may play a role” (American Liver Foundation).Type 1 of AIH is the most classic case. It can occur at any age and is often developed very fast. Type 2 is less common and is mainly found in young women (American Liver Foundation).Type 3 occurs in adults between the ages of thirty to fifty (Frey, Longe, and Ricker). Type 1 is often accompanied by other autoimmune disorders. Type 1 diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis, Graves disease, Sjogren syndrome, and inflammatory bowel syndrome are often also seen in patients with autoimmune hepatitis (PubMed Health). About 70 percent of people with this disease are women (American Liver Foundation).
A chemical or virus can trigger autoimmune hepatitis, although what type is unknown. Scientist believes several items play a role in the offset of this disease. Heredity and genetic predisposition, age, sex, and use of certain medication seem to be important factors (Mayo Clinic staff).
Many people can go undiagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis. The symptoms can often go unseen; therefore a blood panel is done to check for liver function. Patients may feel like they have the common flu, when about 10-20% actually has a severe case of AIH (Frey, Longe, and Ricker). Antibodies help determine the type of autoimmune hepatitis the patient may have (Mayo Clinic Staff). When AIH isn’t caught in time a liver transplant is needed. “Autoimmune hepatitis accounts for six percent of liver transplants in the United States” (Wolf). Itching can occur before the diseased liver is removed, or in rare cases even after. General discomfort and fatigue is common with this disease. Patients may experience pain under the right rib where the liver is located. Yellowing of the skin and eyes otherwise known as jaundice, can be seen in patients when the liver isn’t working properly....

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