Digestive System Home > Causes of Cirrhosis
The most common causes of cirrhosis in the United States are hepatitis C and chronic alcoholism. A few other possible cirrhosis causes are autoimmune hepatitis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and certain inherited conditions. Some examples of inherited conditions that can cause cirrhosis include Wilson's disease and hemochromatosis. However, in some cases, the cause of cirrhosis remains unknown even after a thorough medical examination.
What Causes Cirrhosis?Cirrhosis is a medical term used to describe changes that occur to the liver because of long-term liver damage. In a person with cirrhosis, large areas of the liver become scarred -- usually permanently. This can make it harder for the liver to do its job.
There are many causes of cirrhosis. In the United States, chronic alcoholism and hepatitis C are the most common cirrhosis causes. Other causes can include:
- Chronic hepatitis B
- Chronic hepatitis D
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Inherited conditions
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
- Blocked bile ducts
- Drugs and toxins
- Other infections
- Congestive heart failure.
Sometimes the cause of cirrhosis remains unknown even after a thorough medical examination.
One possible cause of liver cirrhosis is hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is a type of viral hepatitis caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). In about 85 percent of people infected with HCV, the body is not able to completely get rid of the virus, and a long-term liver infection results. This is called chronic hepatitis C.
The effects of chronic hepatitis C will vary depending on the person. For example, some people have very bad cirrhosis and late symptoms of hepatitis C after many years of having hepatitis C, while others have very few scars. Of the people who have the virus for 20 years, approximately 20 percent, or one out of every five patients, will have cirrhosis of the liver.