It’s estimated that over one million Americans and millions more worldwide suffer from liver cirrhosis. Globally, it accounted for over 1.2 million deaths in 2013, and it’s the 12th leading cause of death by disease in the United States, where 27,000 Americans die each year from the disease. Worldwide, 57 percent of cirrhosis is attributable to either hepatitis C or hepatitis B. Long-term alcohol abuse accounts for about 20 percent of cirrhosis-related deaths globally, while, in the United States, 40 percent of cirrhosis-related deaths are caused by alcohol abuse. Each of these disease drivers triggers the replacement of normal liver tissue with damaged scar tissue, which impedes blood flow and the liver’s ability to clean and purify blood.
Liver cirrhosis has multiple potential causes and often more than one of them can be found in the same patient. The disease’s most common complication is ascites, which is the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, often accompanied by kidney dysfunction. This life-threatening condition causes severe…
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