Cholangitis is a chronic, life-threatening disease caused by damage to the bile ducts of the liver. Bile is instrumental in digestion and aids the body in clearing out bad cholesterol, depleted red blood cells, and other toxins. Cholangitis is classed as an autoimmune disease because the body turns on itself and attacks healthy cells. The condition develops over time and can be slowed with liver medications if caught and treated early.

1. Is it Alcohol-Related?

When it comes to liver disease, this is a common question. Perhaps surprisingly, alcohol does not seem to be a primary cause of cholangitis. Rather, infection, genetic predisposition, smoking, and other environmental factors, or a combination of these things, generally bring about this bile duct issue.

174980367Jan-Otto / Getty Images