Autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic liver disease caused by an overactive immune system that attacks healthy liver cells by mistake. When this happens, the liver becomes inflamed (swollen, red, and painful) — a condition called hepatitis. It’s most common in young to middle-aged women.
When left untreated, autoimmune hepatitis can lead to cirrhosis (irreversible scarring) and liver failure. Signs and symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis can be mild or severe, and may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal swelling (ascites)
- Joint pain and swelling
- Pale or gray-colored stool
- Skin rashes
- Stopped menstruation
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes (called jaundice)
There is no known cause of autoimmune hepatitis, but environmental and genetic factors may play roles. It’s also associated with thyroiditis, Grave’s disease, and ulcerative colitis (an inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD).
If you or a loved one have symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis, contact an expert hepatologist (liver specialist) at the University of Miami Health System today. The earlier we can diagnose the condition, the better the outcome.
Advanced Diagnostic Imaging
Medical imaging such as abdominal ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans show blood flow, size, structure, and function of the liver.
A liver biopsy is a small tissue sample taken from a needle for analysis at a lab. Liver biopsies are performed using ultrasound imaging to guide the needle to the right place.
Some of the urine and blood tests that help detect autoimmune hepatitis and complications include liver function studies, cellular blood counts, electrolytes, and autoimmune antibodies.
Corticosteroids and other medicines used to treat autoimmune disorders can slow down an overactive immune system and reduce inflammation.
If your condition is advanced or doesn’t respond well to medicine therapy, a liver transplant may be an option.
Why Choose UHealth?
Liver care from South Florida’s expert hepatologists. Our hepatologists are part of the liver transplant program at the Miami Transplant Institute. You can trust you’re getting expert care with the most advanced diagnostics and treatment for all your liver health needs.
Seamless services from specialists who care about you. Our hepatology teams are here for you both in the hospital or in the outpatient (clinic) setting. We get to know your family and help you become the healthiest you can be.
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Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.