Living With Auto-Immune Hepatitis

Living With Auto-Immune Hepatitis

Many people have heard of hepatitis A and B before.  In fact, most people receive vaccinations for these diseases early on in childhood.  Hepatitis A and B can be transmitted through food, water, or bodily fluids.  It is relatively common and can, fortunately, be prevented through vaccination and cured through various treatments.  However, some people have auto-immune hepatitis, which is much less talked about.  This form of hepatitis does not have any vaccine for prevention, and it does not have a cure.  Fortunately, the up and coming treatment of stem cell therapy may offer relief to people who have auto-immune hepatitis.

Auto-immune hepatitis occurs when the body’s immune system begins attacking the liver.  It cannot be contracted or given to others.  Rather, it occurs when the wiring of the immune system goes haywire.  People do not always have symptoms in the early stages of the disease.  However, as the disease progresses, patients may notice fatigue, abdominal pain, rashes, and joint pain, among other problems.  There are two different types of autoimmune hepatitis.  Type one can occur at any age and is common in people who have other auto-immune disorders.  Type two typically occurs in children, although adults can develop it as well.

There are certain factors that put people at a higher risk of developing auto-immune hepatitis.  Being female, having a family history of the disease, having other auto-immune diseases, and a history of certain infections can all put someone at a higher risk of developing auto-immune hepatitis.  A liver biopsy and blood tests are typically required to diagnose the disease accurately.  After an accurate diagnosis, most treatments are aimed at reducing symptoms.  These treatments consist of various medications.  If medication does not work, and damage to the liver becomes extensive, a liver transplant may be suggested.

In many situations, long term medication or a transplant is not ideal answers to auto-immune hepatitis.  Fortunately, stem cell therapy has been a strong contender to help those suffering from this form of hepatitis.  Stem cell therapy allows stem cells to enter the person’s body and stop the immune cells from attacking the liver while replacing damaged liver cells with healthy ones.  Ideally, this halts the progression of the disease and helps reverse any damage that has already occurred.  Stem cell therapy is not currently widely used for those suffering from auto-immune hepatitis, but it is gaining traction.

Living with auto-immune hepatitis can be very difficult.  In addition to being on medication long term, which can be costly or not well tolerated by the body, many people experience extensive damage to the liver.  This can lead to needing a liver replacement later in life, which is not always feasible.  Fortunately, stem cell therapy has helped push medicine forward for a variety of ailments, one of them being auto-immune hepatitis.  With the help of stem cells, patients who suffer from the ailment may be able to stop the damage and even reverse it in some cases.  It is a revolutionary therapy and can greatly improve the quality of life for these patients.

 

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