August Alsina’s Liver Disease Might Be Autoimmune Hepatitis — How Serious Is It? [Opinion]

It has not been easy for August Alsina these last few years. The R&B and hip-hop singer and songwriter has been fighting a battle and he’s been doing it quietly where few people could see. It turns out there are a few good reasons for that. Alsina revealed in a recent interview with Jada Pinkett Smith, posted on Instagram, that he has been dealing with a chronic liver disease for years now. So how bad is it?

It was in September of 2014 that August Alsina collapsed on stage during a live show in New York. Approaching the front of the stage, Alsina seemed to faint and toppled over into the crowd. After immediately being transported to the hospital, the singer was reported to have suffered multiple seizures and was in a coma for the following three days. He talked very little about the incident afterwards and it was believed that the cause was exhaustion and dehydration.

That was until earlier today when August Alsina went to his Instagram with two video clips to clear the air in an interview with Jada Pinkett Smith. In the interview, August Alsina spoke candidly about his private battle with a disease that had been infecting his liver. He expressed desire to hide the disease from fans and friends because he had no desire to be treated differently than he had before. The video below contains a particular excerpt from the interview about Alsina’s state. It contains some explicit language.

“I have a liver disease where my autoimmune system is fighting against itself. The reality is I’m sick all the time, so I don’t really like to talk about it because I’m not looking for anybody’s sympathy. Don’t treat me like I’m a f**king cancer patient, because I’m not.”

The liver disease Alsina briefly described most closely resembles autoimmune hepatitis. Not to be confused with the more commonly known sexually contracted diseases, such as hepatitis B, autoimmune hepatitis is more of a genetic or hereditary disease, according to the American Liver Foundation. Like most hepatitis strains, autoimmune hepatitis affects the liver. This particular strain does so by turning the body’s own immune system against the liver. Where the autoimmune system is supposed to attack dangerous cells that don’t belong in the body, it instead attacks the cells of the liver, causing the organ to become inflamed.

Fatigue and mental confusion are symptoms of the disease, which more directly explains Alsina’s collapse at his 2014 New York performance. In the worst case scenario, it can lead to cirrhosis and catastrophic liver failure. Its existence as a chronic disease means it can’t be cured. Treatment for autoimmune hepatitis is only accomplished through medications that block the immune system from attacking the liver, meaning that it’s something that Alsina has simply had to live with and tend to constantly at current and over the course of the last years. Some patients suffer from autoimmune hepatitis for life, and unfortunately, the medications used to treat it have their own life-altering side effects.

Despite his private battle with liver disease, August Alsina has still made musical appearances, such as at the American Music Awards in 2016.

Alsina’s fight is certainly a personal one and the state of his being alongside a difficult life has certainly had something to do with his silence. In the interview with Smith, he revealed that alongside the disease, he felt that “sadness and depression” were a part of his life, citing the death of his brother in a shooting and the state of his stepfather’s continuous problem with drug addiction, which may have contributed to hiding his health problems from the public eye.

The arrival of August Alsina at a point where he could finally speak with someone about the ongoing problems he had been fighting behind the public eye answered a lot of questions about the singer’s state of affairs over the past years. Despite his declaration that he has no need of sympathy, August Alsina’s reveal of his liver disease and its complications on the Jada Pinket Smith interview might point to his willingness to accept support.

[Featured Image by Larry French/Getty Images]