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IU Health Hepatologist Dr. Craig Lammert talks about a disease that affects hundreds of patients but often goes undetected – autoimmune hepatitis (AIH).
He’s making it his mission not only to treat a rare disease but to also bring together patients who are diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH).
“We want patients to fully understand their disease and become strong advocates for their health,” said Dr. Craig Lammert. “AIH can lead to cirrhosis and even a liver transplant. It’s often referred to as the ‘invisible disease’ because many providers and loved ones don’t understand the consequences of the disease,” said Dr. Lammert.
The disease is challenging to diagnose because there is no one test that confirms AIH. Patients often have a wide variety of symptoms including ones that are not always attributed to liver disease such as fatigue, poor sleep and depression, said Dr. Lammert.
At a recent patient conference hosted by the Autoimmune Hepatitis Association Dr. Lammert asked art therapists with the Simon Cancer Center CompleteLife Program to facilitate a session on art as a form of healing. As part of the exercise, patients created colorful mandalas.
“It’s a holistic approach. I explain to patients we can often control the autoimmune inflammation in their liver with medicines, but we want to explore other strategies to improve their quality of life,” said Dr. Lammert. “Much of the battle is working to improve symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, and depression that we see in many AIH patients.”
What is known about AIH:
-- By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health. Reach Banes via email email@example.com.