You cannot inherit cirrhosis from your parents, but some conditions that may lead to cirrhosis can be passed down in your genes.
These inherited conditions, such as hemochromatosis and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, can cause you to develop cirrhosis even if you don’t drink a lot of alcohol.
Read on to learn more about how cirrhosis (a type of liver disease that involves liver scarring) can be caused by genetic conditions, which conditions most increase your chance of developing cirrhosis, and what other risk factors you may need to consider.
Cirrhosis isn’t genetic.
But some conditions that run in families can increase your risk of cirrhosis even if you don’t have any other risk factors. These conditions result from one or both of your parents passing down certain genes or gene mutations.
Some of these conditions
Some genetic conditions also make you more likely to develop cirrhosis due to lifestyle factors, such as alcohol use, because your liver can’t process fat properly, causing fat to build up in your liver.
These mutations can cause immune cells called T cells to attack healthy liver cells, leading to liver damage. This is called liver fibrosis. Scarred liver cells lose their typical function, and scarring across your liver leads to cirrhosis.
Several genetic diseases can cause cirrhosis.
Hemochromatosis happens when iron builds up to high levels in your bloodstream because your body can’t process it properly. This condition is caused by a
Having too much iron in your liver damages liver cells, leading to cirrhosis. Hemochromatosis can also increase your risk of cirrhosis linked to alcohol, diabetes, and heart conditions.
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
This can lead to long-term inflammation in your liver tissues that can eventually cause cirrhosis.
It’s not clear exactly which gene might be linked specifically to this condition. But it’s associated with variants of
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition in a gene on chromosome 7 that makes proteins involved in transporting chloride and water throughout your body.
It’s known to
This condition is caused by a mutation in the
Other risk factors for cirrhosis include:
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about cirrhosis and genetics.
Who is most at risk for cirrhosis?
Genetic conditions aside, people who drink a lot of alcohol over a long period or contract infections that affect the liver, such as viral hepatitis, have the highest risk for cirrhosis.
People who have a genetic condition such as hemochromatosis or autoimmune hepatitis have an even higher risk of developing cirrhosis due to lifestyle factors like alcohol consumption.
There’s also evidence that undergoing bariatric surgery can increase your risk of developing cirrhosis because your gastrointestinal tract
Do all heavy drinkers get cirrhosis?
Not everyone who drinks alcohol heavily will get cirrhosis. Some people with alcohol use disorder may experience other health effects but may not have enough liver damage to cause cirrhosis.
What age is most likely to get cirrhosis?
You can receive a cirrhosis diagnosis at any age, but it’s more likely to develop at ages
Cirrhosis is not a genetic condition, but several genetic conditions can increase your risk of developing it.
Consult a medical professional if you have a family history of genetic conditions that are linked to liver disease or high blood levels of a substance such as iron or copper.