Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a chronic liver disease in which the immune system attacks the liver cells, causing inflammation and damage to the liver tissue. The exact cause of AIH is not known, but it is believed to be related to genetic and environmental factors.
AIH can affect people of all ages, but it is more common in women than men. The disease can develop gradually over many years, or it can occur suddenly. Symptoms of AIH may include fatigue, abdominal pain, joint pain, nausea, vomiting, and jaundice.
Diagnosis of AIH involves blood tests to look for antibodies that are specific to the condition, as well as a liver biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and assess the degree of liver damage. Treatment for AIH typically involves medications to suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation in the liver. With proper treatment, many people with AIH can achieve remission and live a normal life, but some may require a liver transplant if the disease progresses to end-stage liver failure.