What Is It?
No body organ performs a wider variety of essential jobs than the liver. It:
Produces essential proteins that help blood to clot
Removes or neutralizes poisons, drugs and alcohol
Manufactures bile that helps the body to absorb fats and cholesterol
Helps to maintain normal blood sugar levels
Regulates several hormones
Cirrhosis is a disease in which normal liver cells are replaced by scar tissue, which interferes with all of these important functions. In extreme cases, the damage is so severe that the only solution is a liver transplant.
Cirrhosis has many causes. In the United States and Europe, the most common causes are excessive alcohol use and chronic infection with the hepatitis C virus.