Types of Liver Cirrhosis

Internal Organs - Liver
3D render of the liver. (Image: benedetti68/iStock/Getty Images)

Cirrhosis is defined as the presence of large amounts of scar tissue in the liver due to many years of liver inflammation and injury, according to the Mayo Clinic. Any liver disease in which scarring remains persistent, continuing for years, may eventually lead to liver cirrhosis. The American Liver Foundation says liver cirrhosis is an irreversible, life-threatening disease. Contributors to the development of liver cirrhosis include hepatitis, alcohol and bile duct obstruction.

Hepatitis C-related Cirrhosis

Hepatitis C is a viral disease that causes swelling of the liver. Approximately 20 percent to 25 percent of people suffering from hepatitis C develop liver cirrhosis, according to HVC Advocate. HVC Advocate says those who consume large amounts of alcohol regularly are more likely to develop cirrhosis. HVC says alcohol is the main culprit in the progression of liver cirrhosis and that those with hepatitis C should refrain from drinking.

Alcoholic Cirrhosis

The American Liver Foundation says alcoholic cirrhosis is the most serious type of alcohol-induced liver disease. Roughly 10 years or more of drinking can cause approximately 10 percent to 20 percent of heavy drinkers to develop cirrhosis of the liver, according to the American Liver Foundation. A person's risk for developing liver cirrhosis increases with excessive alcohol consumption in addition to having hepatitis C. The American Liver Foundation suggests to stop drinking in order to stabilize this condition.

Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis

Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a disease that damages and blocks the bile ducts, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). The digestive liquid known as bile is made within the liver. The bile ducts assist in excreting bile from the liver to the gall bladder and small intestines.

The NDDIC says PSC causes inflammation of the bile ducts, leading to scar formation and narrowing of the bile ducts. The more scarring, the greater the narrowing of the bile ducts. The inability for bile to move out of the liver results in damage to the liver cells, according to the NDDIC. Scar tissue typically continues to spread throughout the liver and results in cirrhosis as well as liver failure.

Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a chronic, autoimmune disease that slowly destroys the liver, according to the Mayo Clinic. PBC affects the bile ducts, causing inflammation. Excessive inflammation results in bile duct destruction, in which the ducts are replaced with scar tissue.

The Mayo Clinic says the cause of bile duct inflammation is still unknown. However, researchers theorize that the body may attack its own cells. As an autoimmune disease, the PBC response may be due to exposure to environment irritants, viruses or genetic makeup. Patients with PBC are more susceptible to osteoporosis, inflammatory arthritis and thyroid disorders.

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