There are many conditions, behaviors, and substances capable of causing liver scarring, which is medically referred to as cirrhosis. Among them are the excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, liver diseases, medications that harm the liver, and some viruses. In some cases, a person may even develop scarring because of his own immune system. For example, a person may have an autoimmune disease in which his immune system attacks his liver. Some types of chemicals and toxic metals cause scarring of the liver as well.
Often, liver scarring is the result of alcohol consumption. It may result when a person consumes large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis. For example, a person who consumes a few alcoholic beverages each day for 15 years may be more likely to develop scarring than a person who consumes alcohol less frequently. Interestingly, some people seem to be more susceptible to liver damage from alcohol than others.
A condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease may also cause scarring of the liver. This condition develops when fat accumulates in the liver of people who do not abuse alcohol. Some people with the condition do not experience scarring, but in others, the fat accumulation causes liver inflammation and leads to scarring.
A chronic form of a condition called hepatitis may also lead to liver scarring. An individual with chronic hepatitis B or C has a viral illness that remains a problem for years rather than going away, as an acute form of hepatitis would. There are various types of hepatitis, and a person with a non-chronic form, such as hepatitis A, is less likely to develop scarring. Hepatitis B, on the other hand, is often associated with scarring on the liver, and hepatitis C usually causes it. Scarring usually develops gradually when a patient has a chronic form of viral hepatitis.
Unfortunately, some cases of liver scarring develop because of a patient’s immune system dysfunction. In such a case, a person’s immune system attacks his own liver cells. When this occurs, a person is said to have an autoimmune condition. Such a condition may cause gradually worsening liver damage and scarring.
Sometimes medications and toxic chemicals are at fault when it comes to liver scarring. Some medications, for example, are known to cause liver damage while others may only cause scarring when unexpected reactions occur. Certain chemical toxins and pathogens may cause scarring of the liver as well.