Hepatitis A, B, C
What is autoimmune hepatitis?
Autoimmune hepatitis is a rare, severe, and chronic liver disease that arises in genetically predisposed people worldwide. It is caused by the immune system attacking healthy liver cells. It can be difficult to diagnose and is often overlooked or misdiagnosed, leading to long-term complications if left untreated.
Common symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis can include fatigue, jaundice, abdominal pain, itching, nausea, and vomiting. If a person experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis.
Diagnosing autoimmune hepatitis can be difficult as the signs and symptoms are often similar to other liver diseases. A doctor may start by conducting a thorough physical examination, followed by additional testing such as blood work, imaging or biopsy.
Treatment options are usually a combination of lifestyle changes, such as reducing alcohol consumption and maintaining a healthy diet, steroids, to medications that suppress the immune system. In the worst cases, a liver transplant may be necessary for fulminant liver failure.
With proper diagnosis and management, autoimmune hepatitis can be managed successfully, and many people live long, healthy lives with this condition.
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, and it can often be caused by drugs or toxins. Drug induced hepatitis is a serious cause of acute liver injury. It accounts for about 10% of all cases of acute hepatitis.
Some common drugs that have been linked to causing hepatitis include acetaminophen (Tylenol), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen, antibiotics like amoxicillin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, anti-seizure medications like carbamazepine and phenytoin, chemotherapy drugs, statins (drugs used to lower cholesterol) and oral contraceptives. Also, over the counter supplements and herbal preparations can cause inflammation of the liver. In addition, illegal drugs like cocaine, methamphetamines, and heroin have been shown to cause hepatitis.
It is typically diagnosed through a combination of history taking, lab tests, imaging studies, and clinical examination. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, jaundice, nausea, fatigue, and dark urine. However, in the initial stages there may be no symptoms at all.
Treatment depends on the cause of the hepatitis and may involve stopping or changing the medication. Additionally, supportive measures such as rest, fluids, and pain medications may be needed. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent further liver damage.
Alcoholic liver disease is caused by excessive alcohol consumption. It is characterized by inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) and can lead to serious complications like liver failure, cirrhosis and even death.
Symptoms include jaundice, abdominal pain, confusion, loss of appetite, fever, and fatigue. Treatment for AH depends on the severity of the disease and may include lifestyle modifications, abstinence from alcohol, medications, and supportive care. In extreme cases, a liver transplant may be necessary.
Treatment depends on the severity of the disease and may include lifestyle changes, medication, or hospitalization. Risk factors for developing alcoholic hepatitis include regular heavy drinking over an extended period of time, being male and/or having a family history of alcohol abuse. Alcoholics can have a genetic predisposition to the disease.
With early diagnosis and treatment, the prognosis for people with AH can be positive. It is important to stop drinking alcohol completely if you are diagnosed with AH in order to prevent further damage to your liver. If you need help quitting drinking, talk to your doctor or contact a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which there is an increased accumulation of fat within the cells of your liver. It is becoming increasingly common, as it affects up to 25 percent of adults in the United States and other countries worldwide. The most common cause of NAFLD is obesity and insulin resistance. However, certain genetic conditions, certain medications, and other types of liver diseases can also lead to NAFLD.
NAFLD is divided into two categories: simple fatty liver and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Simple fatty liver is a relatively benign condition in which there is an accumulation of fat within the cells of your liver but no inflammation. NASH, on the other hand, is a more serious form of NAFLD and involves liver inflammation along with fat accumulation in the liver cells. People with NASH have an increased risk of liver cirrhosis, liver failure, and even liver cancer.
Chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus and even alcohol use are associated with hepatic steatosis. Viral hepatitis-associated hepatic steatosis is often caused by metabolic syndrome including obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus and/or dyslipidemia. Chronic hepatitis B infection is common. Fatty liver disease combined with chronic hepatitis infection increases the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer.
A challenge with NASH liver disease is that many people have no symptoms until they do when they have liver disease. It is often first suspected when your primary care doctor finds abnormal results of routine blood tests or liver tests. The diagnosis of NASH can be supported by patient history, blood work, and Fibroscan, a special ultrasound that measures fat and inflammation in the liver. Treatment involves losing weight, exercise, dietary changes to limit fat and sugars in the diet and avoiding alcohol.
Contact Gastroenterology Associates of Brooklyn to learn more about these liver diseases. you will always be treated with respect and compassion.