What Causes Liver Fibrosis?

Fibrosis occurs when excessive scar tissue builds up faster than it can be broken down and removed from the liver. Chronic infection with hepatitis C or hepatitis B virus (HCV or HBV), heavy alcohol consumption, toxins, trauma or other factors can all lead to liver fibrosis. Only in rare instances is liver fibrosis the primary problem; more often, it is secondary to some other liver disease such as cirrhosis.

Normally, the body’s response to injury is the formation of scar tissue. In the case of fibrosis, the healing process goes haywire. When hepatocytes (functional liver cells) are injured due to a virus, alcohol, toxins, trauma or other factors, the immune system goes to work to repair the damage. During the fibrosis process, the injured hepatocytes cause substances to be released into the liver causing the buildup of the scar tissue.

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