Join for Just $16 A Year
- Discounts on travel and everyday savings
- Subscription to AARP The Magazine
- Free membership for your spouse or partner
The term "cirrhosis" was first used by René Laënnec (1781–1826) to describe the abnormal liver color of individuals with alcohol-induced liver disease. The word cirrhosis comes from the Greek word kirrhos, the name for a yellowish-brown color.
The human liver is the largest single organ in the body and consists of parenchymal cells, which metabolize, detoxify, synthesize, and store nutrients. Normal functioning of these cells depends on their proper organization. Cirrhosis, the final common pathway for a variety of liver diseases, occurs when excessive fibrosis results in the conversion of normal liver architecture into structurally abnormal nodules. Cirrhosis is irreversible and can be life threatening—it is a public health concern because of its associated mortality and morbidity. The only available and definitive treatment is liver transplantation. Cirrhosis is, however, preventable in most cases.
The exact prevalence of cirrhosis is unknown, but it has been estimated, through autopsies, to be between 5 and 10 percent. Incidence of cirrhosis varies by country and region, and reflects relative contributions from different risk factors. In countries where alcohol consumption is common, alcoholic cirrhosis is the major contributor to the overall prevalence of cirrhosis. In countries with low alcohol consumption, hepatotropic viruses (hepatitis B and C) are the major contributors.
An estimated 25,000 individuals in the United States died from liver disease in 1998, making liver disease the tenth leading cause of death. For individuals between 45 and 64 years of age, chronic liver disease had an associated mortality rate of 19.6 per 100,000 persons and was the seventh leading cause of death. The mortality rate for
|Common Causes of Cirrhosis|
|SOURCE: Courtesy of author.|
white men between 45 and 64 years of age was 28.2 per 100,000 persons, and cirrhosis was the fourth leading cause of death (in 1998).
Author Info: SAMMY SAAB, SERGIO E. ROJTER, The Gale Group Inc., Macmillan Reference USA, New York, Gale Encyclopedia of Public Health, 2002This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your healthcare provider. Please consult a healthcare professional with any health concerns you may have.
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Find information on drug interactions, side effects, and more. Go.
Member access to health and insurance products and services at AARPhealthcare.com.
Members can get an instant quote with AARP® Dental Insurance administered by Delta Dental Insurance Company.
Members can save on eyewear with AARP® Vision Discounts provided by EyeMed.
Caregiving can be a lonely journey, but AARP offers resources that can help.