Other Liver Disorders
Detailed information on autoimmune and metabolic liver disorders, including hemochromatosis (iron overload disorder) and Wilson disease.
Other Liver Disorders
What are autoimmune liver disorders?
An autoimmune disorder is when your immune system attacks your organs or tissues by mistake. In the liver, the immune system can destroy liver cells and harm bile ducts. Long-term (chronic) hepatitis can be caused by an autoimmune disorder.
In autoimmune hepatitis, your immune system destroys liver cells. This condition may be called type 1 or type 2. The type depends on the type of antibodies attacking the liver cells.
Type 1 (classic) autoimmune hepatitis
This is the most common form. It may happen at any age. But it often affects young women more than men. Other autoimmune disorders can be linked to type 1. These include:
Celiac disease, in which eating gluten can harm the small intestine
Ulcerative colitis or other inflammatory diseases of the colon
Type 2 autoimmune hepatitis
This often affects girls between ages 2 and 14. Sometimes it affects adults.
What are metabolic liver disorders?
Two main metabolic disorders affect the liver.
This disease is sometimes called iron overload disorder. Your body absorbs too much iron from food. The extra iron is stored all over the body. This includes the liver and pancreas. The extra iron can harm these organs. Hemochromatosis is an inherited disease. This means it is passed down through families. It can lead to liver disease, liver failure, and liver cancer. It can also lead to heart disease, arthritis, skin darkening, and diabetes.
With this disease, your body keeps too much copper in the liver. Over time, the damaged liver releases copper into the blood. This inherited disease can harm the kidneys, brain, and eyes. It can lead to severe brain damage, liver failure, and death.
Sometimes, other metabolic liver conditions occur. These include alpha-1antitrypsin deficiency, Gaucher disease, and cystic fibrosis-related liver disease. Some are more common in children.
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