Causes of Liver Disease
Most people seem to think that the main cause of liver disease and associated problems are caused by cirrhosis brought on by consuming too much alcohol.
In reality, there are other things that are more likely to give you liver disease.
Most liver disease is caused by a variation of the Hepatitis virus. There are five of these types of viruses
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can be caused by a virus, by inherited disorders, and sometimes by certain medications or toxins such as alcohol and drugs.
Scientists have identified five main types of viral hepatitis: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and hepatitis D. A fifth type, hepatitis E, is generally not found in North America or Europe, but tends to be very common in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Central America.
Hepatitis A is waterborne and spread mainly via sewage and contaminated food and water.
Hepatitis B is transmitted by contact with infected semen, blood, or vaginal secretions, and from mother to newborn. Hepatitis B is most commonly spread by unprotected sex and by sharing of infected needles (including those used for tattooing, acupuncture, and ear piercing).
Hepatitis C spreads via direct blood-to-blood contact.
Hepatitis D is spread by infected needles and blood transfusions.
Hepatitis E is most common in developing countries with inadequate water supply and environmental sanitation.
Improved screening of donated blood has greatly reduced the risk of catching hepatitis B or C from blood transfusions. Both hepatitis B and C can be spread through sharing of razors, toothbrushes, and nail clippers.
The main cause of cirrhosis is chronic infection with the hepatitis C virus. Other causes include:
long-term, excessive alcohol consumption
chronic infection with hepatitis B virus
inherited disorders of iron and copper metabolism
severe reactions to certain medications
fatty liver caused by obesity
infections from bacteria and parasites usually found in the tropics
repeated episodes of heart failure with liver congestion and bile-duct obstruction
With cirrhosis, the liver tissue is irreversibly and progressively destroyed as a result of infection, poison, or some other disease. Normal liver tissue is replaced by scars and areas of regenerating liver cells.
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