What are the myths and truths about Cirrhosis?

Liver cirrhosis is the end result of years of aggression to the liver , which causes the replacement of normal liver tissue with nodules and fibrous tissue. Basically, cirrhosis is nothing more than the healing of the liver. Where there should be functioning tissue, there is only fibrosis (scar). Learn the myths about cirrhosis and answer your questions!


There is no point in stopping drinking, when the person already has cirrhosis

Myth . Due to the expressive capacity of the liver to regenerate, even in severe cirrhosis states, the interruption of alcohol, despite not being able to completely reverse the disease, can significantly improve liver inflammation and, sometimes, even reduce organ fibrosis. .

This means that the disease can stabilize , improve and resolve many of the symptoms caused, just by the complete suspension of alcohol. On the contrary, continued consumption can accelerate the disease and shorten the patient’s life expectancy.


Cirrhosis is a disease of alcoholics

Myth . Excessive and long-term use of alcohol can lead to cirrhosis, and the likelihood of this happening depends a lot on time , the amount of alcohol ingested and the genetic predisposition. Anyway, it is important to know that the majority of people with cirrhosis today are not alcoholics, but hepatitis C carriers.

Other common causes are hepatitis B, toxic liver medications, autoimmune hepatitis, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (which tends to be the main cause of cirrhosis in the next decade), primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease. There are other, rarer causes, but unfortunately in about 30% of cirrhotics we have not found the cause .


The liver is able to repair itself when attacked

True , however, if the aggression occurs persistently over several years, the repair process begins to involve the creation of scar tissue rather than tissue with liver cells capable of performing its functions.

Thus, situations in which there is continuous aggression of the liver, as occurs, for example, with chronic and abusive alcohol consumption, can cause scarring in significant areas of the liver , a process in which we call cirrhosis.


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