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Thursday, January 24, 2008

What is liver cirrhosis and what causes it?


Normal Liver

Cirrhosis implies irreversible scarring of the liver which can be a potentially life-threatening. In an advanced stage, 80-90% liver may be damaged and replaced with scar (dead) tissue. Cirrhosis is caused by sustained liver damage over several years either by alcohol, viral infection (Hepatitis B, C), a toxic substance (for eg. drugs, excess copper or iron in the liver), or by blockage of biliary system such that the liver undergoes progressive scarring that slowly replaces all of normal liver cells.
In most instances, the above causes initially result in Hepatitis which can usually be treated. However, if the offending factor is not removed or treated on time, cirrhosis develops and then it is usually too late to change the course of the disease.

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