Cirrhosis is a consequence of chronic liver disease characterized by replacement of normal, healthy liver tissue by fibrotic scar tissue, blocking the flow of blood through the organ and preventing it from working as it should, as well as regenerative nodules leading to progressive loss of liver function. The liver, the largest organ in the body, is vital in keeping the body functioning properly. It removes or neutralizes poisons from the blood, produces immune agents to control infection, and removes germs and bacteria from the blood. It makes proteins that regulate blood clotting and produces bile to help absorb fats and fat-soluble vitamins. As a result, you cannot live without a functioning liver.
In the United States, chronic alcoholism and hepatitis C are the most common causes. However, there are other factors believed to cause cirrhosis.
Alcoholic Liver Disease - to many people, cirrhosis of the liver is synonymous with chronic alcoholism. Cirrhosis usually develops after more than a decade of heavy drinking. Alcohol seems to injure the liver by blocking the normal metabolism of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
Chronic Hepatitis C - Infection with this virus causes inflammation of and low grade damage to the liver that over several decades can lead to cirrhosis.
Chronic Hepatitis B & D the hepatitis B virus is probably the most common cause of cirrhosis worldwide, but it is less common in the United States. Hepatitis B, like hepatitis C, causes liver inflammation and injury that over several decades can lead to cirrhosis. Hepatitis D is another virus that infects the liver, but only in people who already have hepatitis B.
Autoimmune Hepatitis this disease appears to be caused by the immune system attacking the liver and