Cirrhosis Of The Liver

What Causes Liver Cirrhosis?

In order to deal properly with liver cirrhosis we need to understand and — if possible — remove the underlying causes and risk factors.  We need to ask: "What else is going on inside the body that might allow liver cirrhosis to develop?"

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Accurate diagnosis of the factors behind liver cirrhosis consists of three steps:

Step 1: List the Possible Causative Factors

Identify all disease conditions, lifestyle choices and environmental risk factors that can lead to liver cirrhosis.  Here are five possibilities:
  • Alcohol Consequences
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Cigarette Smoke Damage
  • Hepatitis

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

Identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
significant amounts of occult blood
very pale stools
colitis in family members
high serum iron
blood transfusions
frequent red blood in stools
severe fatigue after slight exertion
pale fingernails
short-term memory failure
being a recovering alcoholic
well controlled hepatitis B or C
chronic nausea
... and more than 50 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of liver cirrhosis:
Cause Probability Status
Hepatitis 98% Confirm
Hemochromatosis 24% Unlikely
Cigarette Smoke Damage 2% Ruled out
Alcohol Consequences 1% Ruled out
Ulcerative Colitis 1% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate liver problems, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Have you been diagnosed with Cirrhosis of the liver?
Possible responses:
→ I've never been tested / don't know
→ No - it has been ruled out
→ It is suspected
→ Yes, it is a moderate problem
→ Yes, it is a serious problem
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate confirmed absence of liver cirrhosis, suspected liver cirrhosis or confirmed liver cirrhosis, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Alcohol-related Problems

To many people, cirrhosis of the liver is synonymous with chronic alcoholism.  It is a major cause, but nevertheless one of several.  Alcoholic cirrhosis usually develops after more than a decade of heavy drinking.  The amount of alcohol that can injure the liver varies from person to person.  In women, as few as two to three drinks per day have been linked with cirrhosis and in men, as few as three to four drinks per day.  Alcohol seems to injure the liver by blocking the normal metabolism of protein, fats and carbohydrates.

Hemochromatosis (Iron overload)

Cirrhosis is the most common severe consequence of hemochromatosis.

Hepatitis

The hepatitis C virus ranks with alcohol as the major cause of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis in the United States.  Infection with this virus causes inflammation of and low grade damage to the liver that over several decades can lead to cirrhosis.

Hepatitis B is probably the most common cause of cirrhosis worldwide, but in the United States and Western world it is less common.  Hepatitis B, like hepatitis C, causes liver inflammation and injury that over several decades can lead to cirrhosis.

The hepatitis D virus is another virus that infects the liver, but only in people who already have hepatitis B.

Ulcerative Colitis

Cirrhosis of the liver can occur when the immune system triggers inflammation there as a result of ulcerative colitis.

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