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Can you get cirrhosis of the liver without drinking alcohol?

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Quick Answer

Cirrhosis of the liver can be the result of anything that damages the liver, according to WebMD. Alcohol abuse is one of the main causes of cirrhosis, but conditions such as hepatitis C and fatty liver can also cause cirrhosis, even in patients who do not drink alcohol.

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Full Answer

Cirrhosis of the liver is a disease in which healthy liver tissue is slowly replaced with scar tissue, explains WebMD. The scar tissue blocks blood flow through the liver, which eventually interferes with the liver's important functions, such as manufacturing certain blood proteins, storing excess nutrients, manufacturing bile and cleaning harmful substances out of the bloodstream. The most common causes of cirrhosis are hepatitis C, fatty liver and alcohol abuse. Additional causes include other chronic viral infections (such as hepatitis B and D), repeated occurrences of heart failure and bile duct blockages. Hereditary diseases such as cystic fibrosis, glycogen storage diseases and hemochromatosis can also lead to cirrhosis of the liver.

Not all people who drink excessively get cirrhosis of the liver; however, women who drink heavily are at higher risk for getting the disease than men, explains WebMD. Also, people with hepatitis B and C are more likely to experience alcohol-related liver damage.

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