Cirrhosis of liver is characterized by large amount of scar tissue growth on the liver. In this article, we are going to discuss the various types of liver cirrhosis.
Liver is the only organ in the human body, which can regenerate itself. Thus, it is very tough and resilient. It can regain its healthy functioning quickly in case of minor damaging. However, a condition named cirrhosis can damage the liver functioning forever. This is an irreversible condition, which may eventually lead to liver failure and cause death of a person. Liver cirrhosis is essentially a condition characterized by abnormal growth of scar tissue. Scar tissue prevents the liver cells from regenerating and functioning properly. Extensive growth of scar tissue on liver causes liver to become dysfunctional. There are numerous types of liver cirrhosis, with varied underlying causes.
Common Types of Cirrhosis of the Liver
Liver cirrhosis develops over a long period of time. The initial stages are mostly asymptomatic and are often diagnosed while testing for some other medical ailment. The treatment is directed as per the causes and types of liver cirrhosis.
Alcoholic Liver Cirrhosis
Alcoholism is rated as the topmost cause of liver cirrhosis. This is a type of nutritional or portal cirrhosis. People drinking excessive alcohol for 10 years or more have 70% chances of developing liver cirrhosis at some point of time in their lives. Often, fatty liver disease is a precursor to alcoholic liver cirrhosis. If fatty liver disease is diagnosed and treated on time, one can easily avoid end stage liver failure due to alcoholic liver cirrhosis.
Hepatitis Related Cirrhosis
Hepatitis is a viral infection that causes inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis B and C are mainly responsible for scarring of liver. About 20-30% patients suffering from hepatitis are likely to develop cirrhosis. The chances of acquiring liver cirrhosis elevate further if patients suffering from hepatitis B drink alcohol.
In some people, the exact cause of liver cirrhosis cannot be ascertained. Usually, a liver biopsy can effectively tell the type and cause of liver cirrhosis. Such a condition, which occurs due to an unknown or unexplained cause is called cryptogenic cirrhosis.
Rare Types of Liver Cirrhosis
In rare types, cirrhosis occurs due to an autoimmune condition, genetic inclination to acquiring cirrhosis or when the bile duct gets affected.
Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
This is an autoimmune disease of the liver, in which liver cells start destructing themselves. The lost liver cells are replaced with scar tissue. The disease attacks bile duct and destroys it. It is then replaced by scar tissue, which later spreads to the entire liver.
Secondary Biliary Cirrhosis
Secondary biliary cirrhosis is caused due to an injury to the bile duct. Scar tissue starts replacing the lost duct cells. The scarring then spreads to the rest of liver, finally causing breakdown of liver function.
Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
This is a disease of the bile duct, which eventually causes liver cirrhosis. Bile is produced in the liver and is essential for digestion of fats. It is transported to the gallbladder and small intestines through a small tube called bile duct. Primary sclerosing cholangitis is a disease, which causes inflammation of the bile duct. Due to this, the duct gets constricted, thereby preventing bile to move out of the liver. The saturated bile causes inflammation of liver and finally leads to cirrhosis. The scar tissue then begins to spread to the healthy liver cells as well, ultimately leading to liver failure.
Genetic Liver Diseases
Certain people are genetically predisposed to acquiring cirrhosis due to build up of certain elements. Hemochromatosis is a type of liver cirrhosis caused due to build up of iron in the liver, which leads to scarring. Wilson’s disease is a similar condition caused due to copper build up, which leads to cirrhosis. Similarly, scarring of liver may also occur due to deposition of alpha-1-antitrypsin, an abnormal protein produced by the liver.
As liver cirrhosis is a fatal disease, one must be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of this disease, more so if they have a history of hepatitis or are alcoholic. Early detection and treatment may prevent this disease from progressing to end stage liver failure. Liver transplantation is the only treatment option for liver failure.