Alcohol ups risk of liver damage in hepatitis C patients: Study

Posted on June 16th, 2016 in Alcohol Abuse, hepatitis

Alcohol ups risk of liver damage in hepatitis C patients: Study

Living with a prolonged and persistent drinking habit is not easy as it affects both physical and mental health of a person. Alcoholism affects all segments of the American population with an increasing number of people still reeling from its effects. An estimated 88,000 people die every year due to alcohol abuse, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While law enforcement agencies are making consistent efforts to tackle the long-standing problem of alcohol abuse that America is facing today, a research published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in May 2016 revealed that alcohol consumption can increase the probability of illness and death from hepatitis C virus. Also, adults infected with the virus are thrice more likely to consume five or more drinks each day at some point in their lives when contrasted with those without the virus.

Alcohol promotes faster development of fibrosis

In the study titled “Association of Hepatitis C Virus With Alcohol Use Among U.S. Adults: NHANES 2003–2010,” the researchers observed the details of 20,042 people who had participated in the 2003–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and were evaluated in 2014. The scientists focused on the cases of self-reported alcohol use and their link with hepatitis C virus. Based on the details, they observed the hepatitis C infection rates across four categories: lifetime abstainers, former drinkers, non-excessive current drinkers and excessive current drinkers.

It was found that the incidence of hepatitis C was higher in former drinkers and excessive current drinkers as compared with lifetime abstainers or current non-excessive drinkers. Commenting on the findings, lead author of the study Amber L. Taylor, M.P.H., of Viral Hepatitis division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said, “Alcohol promotes faster development of fibrosis and progression to cirrhosis in people living with hepatitis C, making drinking a dangerous and often deadly activity. In 2010, alcohol-related liver disease ranked third as a cause of death among people with hepatitis C.”

Further, a follow-up of the respondents who participated in NHANES 2001-2008 survey and who had been infected with the virus at one point in their lives revealed that 50 percent of them were ignorant of their hepatitis C status before being informed about the disease.

Elaborating the prevalence of the virus in the country, Taylor said, “Half of all people living with hepatitis C are not aware of their infection nor the serious medical risks they face when consuming alcohol. This highlights the need for increased diagnosis as well as comprehensive and effective interventions to link hepatitis C-infected individuals to curative treatments now available and provide education and support needed to reduce alcohol use.”

The findings helped understand alcohol consumption levels among those afflicted with hepatitis C. Therefore, it is important to carry out proper behavioral screenings to recognize the patients

with or without hepatitis C who are at an increased risk of developing a drinking problem. This could further help prevent problems associated with alcohol abuse and educate patients about other issues associated with drinking habits.

Recovery is possible

Excessive alcohol use, either as heavy drinking or binge drinking, can result in a number of health problems, chronic diseases, neurological impairments and social problems. If you or your loved one is addicted to alcohol or any other substance and needs help, you may contact the Alcohol Addiction Treatment Arizona for more information about the best treatment options for alcohol deaddiction. You may also call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-671-1510 or chat online for further expert advice.

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