According to a new British study, the pattern of alcohol consumption is a more accurate indicator of the risk of liver disease than regular excessive consumption.
As the year ends and we increase the number of occasions for toasting, it is TipsForWomens’s duty to remind people that alcohol should be consumed in moderation and that alcohol-related cirrhosis still affects 3% of the population. world population. But if you think that only unreasonable consumption is the cause (and that does not concern you!) you might be surprised: a new study on the subject suggests that the way of drinking, more than the quantities ingested, would be a more indicator accurate risk of disease.
Associate quantity, binge drinking and genetic predispositions
The British study, published in Nature Communications on December 14, is the first to evaluate an individual’s alcohol consumption habits, and their genetic profile, to see how these affect their risk of developing cirrhosis.
To do this, the researchers analyzed data from 312,599 adults (from the UK Biobank cohort) actively drinking, to assess the impact of alcohol consumption pattern, genetic predisposition and type 2 diabetes on the probability to develop cirrhosis.
A baseline hazard ratio of one was defined using data from participants who reported drinking within daily limits, had a low genetic predisposition to cirrhosis, and were not diabetic. Based on this basis, a risk scale was analyzed:
- Those who indulged in excessive alcohol consumption, once a week, were three times more likely to develop cirrhosis.
- The risk for people with a high genetic predisposition was four times higher and the risk for type 2 diabetics was twice as high.
- Finally, when excessive alcohol consumption and a high genetic predisposition were at play, the risk of developing cirrhosis was six times higher than the baseline risk.
A new approach to change prevention?
For Dr Linda Ng Fat, first author of the study, this approach could change the way we approach the problem of alcohol consumption:
“Many studies that examine the relationship between liver disease and alcohol focus on the volume of alcohol consumed. We took a different approach by focusing on drinking habits and found that it was a better indicator of liver disease risk than volume alone. The other key finding is that the more risk factors are involved, the greater the ‘excess risk’ due to the interaction of these factors.”
The results suggest that, for example, it would be more harmful to drink 21 units in a few sessions rather than spreading them evenly over a week. And that genetic predispositions can also increase your risk. Armed with this new information, scientists indicate that a new prevention message should be taken into account.
“As liver disease, particularly alcohol-related deaths, has experienced a significant increase Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that we adopt innovative strategies to address this growing crisis. This study gives us essential new tools to identify those most at risk, allowing us to direct interventions more effectively toward those who will benefit the most.” concludes Dr. Steven Bell, co-author of the study.
In Europe, remember, the benchmark values have been established at ten standard glasses of alcohol per week, without exceeding two standard glasses per day.