Causes of Cirrhosis
There are many inherited diseases that can interfere with the liver functioning and eventually lead to cirrhosis. Some of these conditions include:
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
- Fanconi's syndrome
- Gaucher's disease
- Wilson's disease
- Glycogen storage disease.
Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)
NASH is a condition in which fat builds up in the liver and eventually causes scar tissue. This type of hepatitis appears to be associated with diabetes, protein malnutrition, obesity, coronary artery disease, and treatment with corticosteroid medications.
Blocked Bile Ducts
When the ducts that carry bile out of the liver are blocked, bile backs up and damages liver tissue. In babies, blocked bile ducts are most commonly caused by biliary atresia, a disease in which the bile ducts are absent or injured. In adults, the most common cause is primary biliary cirrhosis, a disease in which the ducts become inflamed, blocked, and scarred. Secondary biliary cirrhosis can happen after gallbladder surgery if the ducts are inadvertently tied off or injured.
Drugs and Toxins
Severe reactions to prescription drugs and prolonged exposure to environmental toxins can all lead to cirrhosis of the liver. Some examples of drugs known to cause cirrhosis as a side effect include:
- Methotrexate (Rheumatrex®)
- Methyldopa (Aldomet®)
- Birth control pills (oral contraceptives).
Besides an infection with one of the hepatitis viruses, other infections may also cause cirrhosis. These other infections can include:
Congestive Heart Failure
Prolonged severe right-sided heart failure can lead to cirrhosis. This is because heart failure can cause blood to back up into the liver. Over time, this can lead to damage and eventual scarring on the liver.