What Causes Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease that occurs when healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue.

The most common causes of cirrhosis include:

  • Alcoholic liver disease: Chronic heavy alcohol consumption can lead to cirrhosis by causing inflammation and damage to the liver.
  • Hepatitis: Viral hepatitis, particularly hepatitis B and C, can cause cirrhosis by damaging liver cells and leading to chronic inflammation.
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD): NAFLD is a condition in which fat accumulates in the liver, leading to inflammation and damage.

Less common causes of cirrhosis include:

  • Use of certain medicines
  • Exposure to certain toxic chemicals
  • Repeated episodes of heart failure with blood buildup in the liver
  • Parasite infections

Some diseases that may also cause cirrhosis are as follows.

  • Hemochromatosis: Hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes the body to absorb and store too much iron, leading to liver damage.
  • Wilson’s disease: Wilson’s disease is a genetic disorder that causes the body to accumulate copper, leading to liver damage.
  • Galactosemia or glycogen storage disease: Inherited disorders of sugar metabolism
  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency: Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is a genetic disorder that can cause liver disease and lung disease. It is caused by a deficiency of alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT), a protein that helps protect the lungs from damage caused by enzymes called proteases.
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis: Hardening and scarring of the bile ducts
  • Cystic fibrosis: Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects the lungs and pancreas, but can also cause cirrhosis by clogging the bile ducts and causing liver damage.
  • Alagille syndrome: Alagille syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that affects the liver, heart, and other organs. It is caused by a mutation in the JAG1 or NOTCH2 gene, which is responsible for the formation and function of the bile ducts in the liver.
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis: This is a chronic liver disease that occurs when the bile ducts in the liver become inflamed and damaged.
  • Autoimmune hepatitis: This is a chronic liver disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the liver, leading to inflammation and damage.

Risk factors

  • Drinking too much alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor for cirrhosis.
  • Being overweight. Being obese increases your risk of conditions that may lead to cirrhosis, such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.
  • Having viral hepatitis. Not everyone with chronic hepatitis will develop cirrhosis, but it’s one of the world’s leading causes of liver disease.

It’s worth noting that, Cirrhosis can take years to develop, and people with the condition may not have any symptoms until the disease is advanced. Additionally, it’s important to work with a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause of cirrhosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan.


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