Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a condition in which the body's own immune system attacks the liver. A great deal about AIH is still unknown, we do know that the disease occurs most frequently in women. People with AIH often have other immune system diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes type 1 (juvenile diabetes), ulcerative colitis, and/or thyroid problems. However, many environmental factors and medications may also cause AIH.
Symptoms of AIH are often vague and very similar to other liver problems. Fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, and pale-colored stools are some of the symptoms that may emerge.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you think you may have AIH, you should contact your primary care physician and make an appointment with a hepatologist. . Bring a list of all your medications to the appointment and discuss any recent illnesses, as well as your past medical history.
Diagnosing this disease can be difficult because it mimics so many other liver problems, but consulting a hepatologist with a thorough and complete medical history of recent illnesses, medications and other medical problems is the first step toward diagnosis. Appropriate blood tests are the next step.
Find a physician specializing in the treatment of liver diseases here.
To contact the Division of Gastroenterology, call 718.780.3851.