Causes of cirrhosis
What are the causes of cirrhosis?
The main causes of cirrhosis are due to liver diseases, ingestion of alcoholic beverages, liver poisoning and metabolism disorders.
Liver diseases and cirrhosis
The main liver diseases that can be responsible for cirrhosis are:
- Hepatitis C: It is the infection produced by virus C. It is transmitted by transfusions and through contact with infected blood through the mouth and genitalia, when not adequate preventive means are used. The sick mother can transmit it to the fetus at delivery if the necessary remedies are not applied. This variant of hepatitis is most likely to end up being chronic. Carriers of this virus can easily infect others.
- Hepatitis B, It is caused by infection with the hepatitis B virus. It can be transmitted by blood, through sexual contact and from mother to fetus. It is very common in people who exchange syringes and can be transmitted through wounds made with infected objects.
It is a type of infection whose incubation period may last to half a year. It can produce large number of carriers, meaning they are capable of transmitting this disease because they become chronic. It can evolve into liver cancer or cirrhosis. It is a more serious disease than the previous one because 1% of patients usually die during its peak period.. It is the leading cause of liver cancer. There is no vaccine for it.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver
The liver is enlarged by fat accumulation. This disease progresses infrequently to cirrhosis. Although their exact causes are not know, it appears to be related with other conditions such as obesity, diabetes, or cholesterol and is much more common in women than in men.
- Other diseases of the liver: Another diseases that cause many cases of cirrhosis are diseases of intrahepatic bile ducts, hemochromatosis (poor metabolism of iron accumulation in the liver) Wilson's disease (poor metabolism of copper accumulation in the liver) or prolonged infection of the liver.
Alcohol and cirrhosis
Alcoholism is another major cause of cirrhosis, the main cause for men and the most common cause in Western countries. The liver is one of the organs most affected by the constant consumption of alcohol, since it is responsible to clean the toxins from the blood.
The liver may be affected after many years of drinking, sometimes without the affected person having got drunk. Liver cells die and they are replaced instead by fibrous cells that do not exercise their appropriate role, so that the liver is not functioning well.
The solution is to abandon compulsory alcohol and treat the remaining liver healthy cells properly so that they can go on working normally. The development of cirrhosis in drinkers depends on the personal characteristics of each drinker, the amount of alcohol ingested and the time that this ingestion has been taking place.
Not all people who drink develop cirrhosis, but it is proved that a third of people who drink between 250 to 500 g of alcohol for over 15 years will develop cirrhosis. Some people have very little tolerance for alcohol and may develop this disease by drinking a small amount daily.
Poisons and cirrhosis
Poisoning with toxins (natural or chemical, including medicines) can be responsible for cirrhosis development. Many products are harmful to man. The liver is the organ that has to clean these products from the body.
Poisoning by certain drugs, some chemicals, certain plants, environmental pollutants, etc., can lead to liver cirrhosis.
Genetics and cirrhosis
Some genetic diseases can favor the development of cirrhosis, such as poor metabolism of certain substances in the liver. For example:
- Alpha-1-antitrypsin enzyme: Produced by the liver, this enzyme has the function to protect the lungs from inhaled toxins. The inability of liver to release it into your blood can cause lung diseases and may be responsible for the development of cirrhosis.
- Lack of galactose-1-phosphate uridyltransferase is responsible for galactosemia, a congenital disease characterized by the body's inability to digest lactose and galactose from milk, resulting in poor development of babies and possibly cirrhosis.
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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.