Risk Factors for Cirrhosis
by Alayne Ronnenberg, ScD
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop cirrhosis with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing cirrhosis. If you have risk factors for cirrhosis, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk. Even one or two risk factors is reason enough to consult a provider.
Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Increased consumption of alcohol over a long period of time puts you at a higher risk for developing cirrhosis.
Alcohol is toxic to liver cells. It also damages the liver by changing how your body breaks down food. People who abuse alcohol also tend to have poor diets, which may also contribute to cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis does not develop in everyone who drinks but most cirrhosis develops because of alcohol abuse.
Chronic Infection with Hepatitis B, C, or D
Some acute viral hepatitis infections become chronic, leading to liver inflammation and injury that. Over time, this can progress to cirrhosis. Common viral infections include:
Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)
With NASH, fat cells build up in the liver and eventually lead to scarring. This type of hepatitis is associated with:
Secondary Bilary Cirrhosis
Blockage of the bile ducts causes bile to back up and damage liver tissue. In adults, this can occur with a condition called primary biliary cirrhosis, in which the bile ducts become inflamed, blocked, and scarred.
Bile ducts may also be blocked due to a disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis. It can also occur as a result of gallstones, or as a complication of gallbladder surgery if the ducts are accidentally tied off or injured. It can result from inflammation of the pancreas, called pancreatitis. In infants, blocked bile ducts may result from biliary atresia, a condition in which the bile ducts are injured or totally absent from birth.
Conditions such as heart failure or constrictive pericarditis can cause congestion within the liver.
Numerous inherited disorders interfere with the way the liver produces, processes, and stores enzymes, proteins, metals, and other substances necessary for proper functioning of the body. They include:
This is a condition in which immune cells mistake normal liver cells as invading cells and attack them.
The following factors can lead to liver damage include :
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Hepatitis B. World Health Organization website. Available at: http://www.who.int/immunization/topics/hepatitis_b/en/index.html . Updated July 12, 2012. Accessed April 24, 2013.
2/12/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Chang Y, Ryu S, et al. Weight gain within the normal weight range predicts ultrasonographically detected fatty liver in healthy Korean men. Gut . 2009;58(10):1419-1425.
Last reviewed June 2013 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 6/24/2013