Definition: Autoimmune hepatitis is liver inflammation that occurs when your body's immune system turns against liver cells. The exact cause of autoimmune hepatitis is unclear, but genetic and environmental factors appear to interact over time in triggering the disease.
Untreated autoimmune hepatitis can lead to scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) and eventually to liver failure. When diagnosed and treated early, however, autoimmune hepatitis often can be controlled with drugs that suppress the immune system.
Fatigue, Abdominal discomfort, Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice), An enlarged liver, Abnormal blood vessels on the skin (spider angiomas), Skin rashes, Joint pains, In women, loss of menstruation.
Statistics: There were 19 new cases of AIH, 18 females and 1 male [mean (SD) age of 54.3 (11.2) years, range 23-73]. Incidence peaked in the 45-54 year age group. Eighteen cases were classified as AIH type 1 and one case as AIH type 2. The incidence rate of AIH for the year 2003 in people older than 14 years of age was 1.07 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants, with 1.96 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in females and 0.12 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in males.