Cirrhosis is the result of chronic or long-term scarring and damage to the liver. The damage may be the result of a kidney disease, or it can be caused by conditions like hepatitis and chronic alcoholism. A healthy liver filters harmful substances from your blood and sends healthy blood into your body. As substances damage the liver, scar tissue forms. As more scar tissue forms, the liver has to work harder to function properly. Ultimately, the liver may stop working.
Risk factors and prevention
Risk factors for cirrhosis include:
- chronic alcohol use
- fat accumulation around the liver (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease)
- chronic viral hepatitis
Stay away from the behaviors that can lead to liver damage to help prevent cirrhosis. Long-term alcohol use and abuse is one of the leading causes of cirrhosis, so avoiding alcohol can help you prevent damage. Likewise, you can avoid nonalcoholic fatty liver disease by eating a diet that’s healthy, rich in fruits and vegetables, and low in sugar and fat. Lastly, you can reduce the likelihood of contracting viral hepatitis by using protection during sex and by avoiding sharing anything that could have traces of blood. This includes needles, razors, toothbrushes, and more.
While deaths from some diseases have increased, those from more serious conditions have also decreased. Some factors, such as an increasing life span, naturally increase the incidence of diseases such as CAD, stroke, and heart disease. But many of the diseases on this list are preventable and treatable. As medicine continues to advance and prevention education grows, we may see a reduction in death rates from these diseases.
A good approach to lowering your risk of any of these conditions is to live a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition and exercise. Avoiding smoking and drinking in moderation can also help. For bacterial or viral infections, proper handwashing can help prevent or reduce your risk.