Cirrhosis of the liver is a kind of liver damage. What happens here is that the healthy cells get replaced by scar tissues. As a result, your liver cannot perform its critical functions, including metabolism, producing proteins, and more. Now, you might be wondering what causes cirrhosis of the liver?
Most people believe that drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is one of the major liver cirrhosis causes. However, there are other factors too that contribute to it. We’ll take a look at them below and help you learn more about this disease.
What is the Cause of Cirrhosis of the Liver?
Cirrhosis of liver is caused by varying factors that can damage your life, eventually leading to cirrhosis. Depending on the cause, it can take months or even years to develop fully. While cirrhosis of the liver is incurable, treatment plans can reduce the worsening of the condition.
There are two major liver cirrhosis causes; one is long-term excessive consumption of alcohol. The other one is the Hepatitis C virus. In addition to this, other conditions can also damage your liver and ultimately cause cirrhosis.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (fatty liver) is quite a common cause of chronic liver disease. Thus, patients having fatty liver are at the risk of getting cirrhosis. Similarly, cirrhosis of liver is caused by Hepatitis B virus infection as well. Here are all the common and less common causes of cirrhosis of the liver:
· Excessive alcohol consumption
· Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
· Chronic viral hepatitis (A, B, & C)
· Inherited disorders
· Cryptogenic causes
· PSC (Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis)
· Autoimmune diseases
· PBC (Primary Biliary Cirrhosis)
· Infants born without bile ducts
· Abnormal reactions to some drugs
· Long-term exposure to toxins
· Chronic heart failure
· Rare diseases like amyloidosis
Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption is what causes cirrhosis of the liver in the majority of cases. You can develop this disease over many years from consuming alcohol. With that being said, please note that the amount of alcohol that can damage the liver varies from person to person.
For instance, if a healthy man consumes the same amount of alcohol as a healthy woman, the woman is at a higher risk of getting cirrhosis. On the other hand, children, in particular, are vulnerable to damage from alcohol. Similarly, if you have a medical condition that particularly affects your liver, you will have a higher risk of damage from alcohol.
For instance, people who have hepatitis B or C, or cirrhosis of the liver, must avoid drinking alcohol at all costs. It will most likely make their condition worse, no matter the cause.
Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
In the condition of Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), what happens is that far starts accumulating in the liver. There are around 10 million cases per year in India of fatty liver. It is becoming common in overweight or obese children as well.
NAFLD is associated with conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood cholesterol and triglycerides. The condition of NAFLD leads to inflammation of the liver. Moreover, it also results in the development of scar tissue.
All this can ultimately lead to cirrhosis of the liver. Therefore, it is better to control obesity, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, and triglycerides. Similarly, avoiding alcohol in the case of significant liver scarring is best for everyone.
Chronic Viral Hepatitis
Hepatitis is a common term that means inflammation of the liver. When we say viral hepatitis, we refer to hepatitis caused by a virus such as hepatitis B or C. Commonly, Hepatitis C is the cause of liver cirrhosis. Likewise, Hepatitis B is also a cause. If you have either of these conditions, please do not consume alcohol to avoid the risk of developing cirrhosis.
Some inherited disorders can damage the liver, which will lead to scarring. As a result, it can contribute to cirrhosis. The conditions are:
1. Haemochromatosis- Over here, your body will accumulate iron that can lead to damage of multiple organs, including the liver
2. Galactosaemia- In this condition, your body cannot process galactose, which is a sugar. Thus, it collects in the blood and can lead to liver damage
3. Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency- It can damage your lung but also influence the functioning of your liver and result in cirrhosis and liver failure
4. Wilson Disease- In this condition, the liver does not release copper into the bile, and accumulation of copper in the liver may cause cirrhosis of the liver
5. Cystic Fibrosis- Although it affects the lungs majorly, it can also lead to scarring of the liver
Cryptogenic means the occurrence of a disorder without an apparent underlying reason. Thus, many cases of cryptogenic cirrhosis are prone to arise from NAFLD.
Here, particular kinds of cells of the immune system attack the liver that causes damage to it. These types of conditions that can lead to liver cirrhosis include:
· Autoimmune Hepatitis– In here, the inflammation of the liver occurs because of your body’s immune system attacking the liver.
· PSC (Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis)- The bile ducts in the liver become blocked in this disease.
· PBC (Primary Biliary Cirrhosis)– In this chronic disease, the bile ducts of your liver get destroyed slowly.
Long-term Exposure to Toxins
When your body is exposed to toxins for a long time, it can damage your liver. You might wonder, how does this fall under liver cirrhosis causes? Well, one of the primary roles of the liver is removing toxins from the blood. Therefore, long-term exposure to environmental toxins like arsenic can damage the liver and result in cirrhosis.
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