New study finds daily drinking is biggest risk factor in serious liver disease

Mar 20, 2009

Long-term daily drinking, rather than weekly binge drinking, is by far the biggest risk factor in serious liver disease, according to a new report from the University of Southampton.

The study, published in Addiction journal this week, concludes that increases in UK liver deaths are a result of daily or near daily heavy drinking, not episodic or , and this regular drinking pattern is often discernable at an early age. It also reccommends that several alcohol-free days a week is a healthier drinking pattern.

In the study of drinking patterns, dependency and lifetime drinking history in 234 subjects with , 106 had ALD (Alcohol-related Liver Disease) - 80 of whom had evidence of cirrhosis or progressive - the team found that 71 per cent of ALD drank on a daily basis.

In contrast to the patients with alcohol-related cirrhosis or fibrosis, patients with other forms of liver disease tended to drink sparingly with only 10 subjects (8 per cent) drinking moderately on four or more days each week.

The study also explored lifetime drinking histories of 105 subjects and found that ALD patients started drinking at a significantly younger age (on average at 15 years old) than other subjects and had significantly more drinking days and units than non-ALD patients from the age of 20 onwards.

Lead author of the study Dr Nick Sheron, consultant hepatologist and senior lecturer at the University of Southampton, comments: "If we are to turn the tide of liver deaths, then along with an overall reduction in - which means tackling cheap booze and unregulated marketing - we need to find a way to identify those people who are most likely to develop alcohol-related illnesses at a much earlier stage, and perhaps we need to pay as much attention to the frequency of drinking occasions as we do to binge drinking.

"The transition from a late teenage and early 20's binge drinking pattern to a more frequent pattern of increased intake may prove to be a useful point of intervention in the future, and the importance of three alcohol-free days each week should receive more prominence."

Source: Wiley (news : web)

Explore further: Preventing hepatitis C patients from being lost in the health-care system

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Think before you drink, says research

May 12, 2008

People are being urged to think before they drink as part of a research project aimed at changing people’s binge drinking habits.

Intervention method reduces binge drinking

Jan 30, 2009

Brief but personal intervention reduces drinking among risky college drinkers, according to a research study at The University of Texas School of Public Health. Results of the study will be published in the February issue ...

Recommended for you

Researchers ferret out a flu clue

2 hours ago

Research that provides a new understanding as to why ferrets are similar to humans is set to have major implications for the development of novel drugs and treatment strategies.

In the battle against Ebola, a double-layer solution

5 hours ago

When working with Ebola patients, protective gear works, but removing it can be harrowing. Seeking to protect health care workers from the precarious nature of taking off soiled gloves, Cornell students have ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.