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:

  • Thyroid diseases

  • 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.

Wilson disease

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.

Other conditions

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.

Online Medical Reviewer: Jen Lehrer MD
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2022
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