In some cases, autoimmune disease can be the cause of hepatitis. This happens when the body begins to attack itself as it would a typical infection or virus, resulting in severe symptoms and health complications.
There are two types of autoimmune hepatitis. Type 1 is more common and often occurs with other autoimmune diseases like celiac, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. Type 2 is usually diagnosed in younger people and children.
While the cause of autoimmune hepatitis is unknown, several factors could increase a person’s risk:
- Sex: autoimmune hepatitis is more common in females
- Past infections: may develop after other infections like measles, herpes simplex, and hep A, B, or C.
- Family history
While there is no cure for autoimmune hepatitis, medications can help to reduce liver damage and side effects. Over time, the effectiveness of these drugs tends to decrease, so dosage will need to increase.