Liver and Liver Diseases

What is Autoimmune Liver Disease (AILDs)? 3 Types of AILDs

Last updated on October 20th, 2022 at 07:58 am

An autoimmune liver disease means that the body’s immune system is attacking the liver. These diseases can lead to cirrhosis and eventually liver failure.

What are the 3 Types of Autoimmune Liver Disease?

Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) constitute the classic autoimmune liver diseases (AILDs). While AIH target the hepatocytes, in PBC and PSC the targets of the autoimmune attack are the biliary epithelial cells.

  1. Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC): Primary biliary cholangitis is a chronic liver disease in which the small bile ducts in the liver become injured and inflamed.
    • Primary In the early stages, people may not experience any symptoms of primary biliary cholangitis. Eventually, symptoms may develop that include fatigue, itching, or yellowing of the skin. There are several medications to treat the PBC.
  2. Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC): Primary sclerosing cholangitis is a chronic disease. The bile ducts inside and outside the liver become inflamed and scarred, and eventually narrowed or blocked. The build-up of the bile causes liver damage.
    • Most patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis do not experience any symptoms and the disease progresses slowly. Some may experience fatigue, itching, pain in the abdomen, and yellowing of the skin. Often, PSC occurs in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis. Currently, there are no treatments available for PSC.
  3. Autoimmune hepatitis: Autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic liver disease in which the immune system attacks the liver. If autoimmune hepatitis is not treated, it can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure.
    • People with autoimmune hepatitis may experience fatigue, abdominal pain, joint pain, nausea, and poor appetite. If you have severe liver disease, such as cirrhosis, you may develop fluid build-up in your legs, a yellow color and easy bruising in your skin and confusion. Autoimmune hepatitis is treated with steroids and immunosuppressive therapy.

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