Autoimmune hepatitis is one of the most common causes of the liver damage. Teens get this disease most often, but it can affect infants, too. In this condition, the immune system attacks the liver by mistake and damages the liver. Other problems caused by an overactive immune system include prolonged diarrhea, joint pain, anemia or skin rashes.
Recognizing this condition can be hard. People may feel tired, not be hungry, have low-grade fevers, dark urine or weight loss. Only some patients will have yellow eyes (jaundice). When your doctor thinks this may be a problem, he or she will do blood work. If the liver test results are high, you will need to see a specialist on the liver team.
Doctors in the Liver Disease Clinic will check other labs. To check liver damage and scarring, you may need a liver biopsy. A biopsy is when a needle takes a small piece of liver to look at. The biopsy and blood work give the diagnosis. With early treatment, we can avoid liver scarring. Treatment helps in more than 80 percent of cases. Without treatment, patients may suffer bleeding from swollen veins in the food pipe or brain problems from increased waste products. In rare cares, patients also may need a liver transplant.