Why hasn't anyone ever answered this question?? YES! It absolutley makes a difference and I wish someone would have told me. I found out I had it when I was 20 and careless. I don't remember anyone telling me how serious it was. Everyone kept telling me it was rare to have it and to hear of it. I thought I would be ok....well i'm almost 36 now and I have 4 kids, and an on and off again history with my medication. I finally had a HUGE reality check about 4 years ago. I had a stroke and have really tried to walk a fine line since then. I also just found out that my liver is now in the early stages of cirrhosis, my spleen is inflammed, and i have portal hypertension- all that could have been avoided if I would have just stayed on my drug therapy from the start.
It is a very managable disease. Find a good doctor and stay with them. Take your medicine everyday!! It matters!
I'm 57 and was diagnosed 15yrs ago. I was told I could expect to live 5-10yrs and that there was no treatment. So, for 15yrs I've managed AIH with healthy diet and lifestyle and avoiding stress, chemicals and drugs as much as possible. I also have various other autoimmune conditions.
Two months ago I had a serious liver flareup (I'd been careless with my diet and had some major stress) and am only now starting on immunosuppressant medication to contain the AIH and the other AI conditions. My liver is in pretty good shape with only some minor nodules on the surface.
There's a place for medication but there's a lot to be said for living healthy too. Don't beat yourself up. Who isn't careless at 20! Even in my 50's I've been careless, but now I'm back on track. Good luck.
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