Auto immune diseases of the Liver

Auto immune diseases of the Liver

When your body’s own immune system attacks certain parts of  your body it can result in auto-immune disorders. The presence of other auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis can increase the chances of liver damage as well.

Auto immune hepatitis (AIH)  AIH is the inflammation of the liver due to an auto immune response in the body. It is a very rare disease with  a slow progression and symptoms appear only at a very late stage of disease. The most common symptoms  include  fatigue, fever, abdominal pain and jaundice.

The diagnosis typically involves ruling out other causes of hepatitis.  This will involve a series of blood tests and if needed a liver biopsy.  Your doctor might prescribe drugs to reduce inflammation such as steroids and immunosuppressants.  If the liver gets to the stage of cirrhosis or liver failure  you may need a liver transplant. It is a chronic disease and will need to be monitored life- long.

Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC)  PBC also known as primary biliary cirrhosis  is a chronic auto-immune disorder where in the bile ducts in the liver get damaged. Bile is a fluid synthesized and released by the liver  into the gallbladder through bile ducts to aid digestion. Inflammation of the bile duct can cause the  bile to be built up in the liver resulting in  fibrosis( scarring) of the liver. This can later lead to liver cirrhosis or liver failure. There is no definitive cure for PBC and the management involves monitoring disease activity, medications and lifestyle modifications to reduce the progression of the disease.

Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) It is a chronic cholestatic liver disease in which the bile ducts carrying the bile out of the liver are damaged/ sclerosed. The disease progression is very similar to primary biliary cholangitis. However, PSC is seen to be associated with the ulcers and inflammation or the small and large intestine.  This if not managed appropriately is also known to progress into cancer of the bile duct (cholangiocarcinoma) .