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Cirrhosis (suh-ROH-suhss) is scarring of the liver. Scar tissue forms because of injury or diseases you have had for a long time. Scar tissue cannot do what healthy liver tissue does. This includes changing food into energy and cleaning the blood.
People with cirrhosis may have no symptoms in the early stages. As cirrhosis progresses you may
If too much scarring happens, your liver will stop working, and you will need a liver transplant. Cirrhosis is a leading cause of death in American Indian and Alaska Natives. Among this population, the most common cause is drinking too much alcohol. About 5 percent of people with cirrhosis also get liver cancer.
Once you have cirrhosis, nothing can make the scar tissue go away completely. However, treating the cause will keep cirrhosis from getting worse. For instance, if cirrhosis is caused by alcohol use, the treatment is to stop drinking completely. You also can take steps to keep liver disease from progressing to cirrhosis:
Content last updated: May 18, 2010.