Alcoholics underestimate the risk of bleeding

Feb 18, 2008

Gastrointestinal bleeding can be fatal - something which is not known to many alcoholics. This was the conclusion reached by the Leipzig gastroenterologist Niels Teich and his colleagues, on the basis of a survey in the current edition of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2008; 105[5]: 73-7).

More than 400 patients from the major German cities of Leipzig and Munich were included in the study. Average alcohol consumption was 660 g ethanol per week.

The study shows that alcoholics often do not know enough about the possible symptoms of bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract. After vomiting blood, 71% of those asked would contact an emergency physician.

The corresponding figure for a "black fluid" is only 51%. Only 32% would call emergency medical aid if they were to pass black stools, and only 25% would seek medical help for all three symptoms. Alcoholics who rarely see a doctor are particularly ignorant about how urgent treatment is. Women and patients who had seen a doctor more than 12 times in the course of the preceding year were best informed.

Further non-significant differences were found in respect of patient age. Younger alcoholics were more likely to call a doctor than older patients. In addition, earlier consultation of an emergency physician was associated with lower alcohol consumption, completed vocational training, and being married. The longer the patient delays till the emergency endoscopy, the worse is the prognosis.

Source: Deutsches Aerzteblatt

Explore further: Experts call for higher exam pass marks to close performance gap between international and UK medical graduates

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ethnically diverse neighbourhoods 'safer'

Apr 10, 2014

Residents of ethnically diverse neighbourhoods can expect to experience fewer assaults than residents of neighbourhoods with little or no ethnic diversity, according to a new way of measuring violence.

Genetic changes behind sweet tooth

Apr 04, 2011

The substance ghrelin plays an important role in various addictions, such as alcoholism and binge-eating. It also impacts on sugar consumption, which is due, in part, to genetic factors, reveals new research from the University ...

Recommended for you

Obese British man in court fight for surgery

Jul 11, 2011

A British man weighing 22 stone (139 kilograms, 306 pounds) launched a court appeal Monday against a decision to refuse him state-funded obesity surgery because he is not fat enough.

2008 crisis spurred rise in suicides in Europe

Jul 08, 2011

The financial crisis that began to hit Europe in mid-2008 reversed a steady, years-long fall in suicides among people of working age, according to a letter published on Friday by The Lancet.

New food labels dished up to keep Europe healthy

Jul 06, 2011

A groundbreaking deal on compulsory new food labels Wednesday is set to give Europeans clear information on the nutritional and energy content of products, as well as country of origin.

Overweight men have poorer sperm count

Jul 04, 2011

Overweight or obese men, like their female counterparts, have a lower chance of becoming a parent, according to a comparison of sperm quality presented at a European fertility meeting Monday.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...