Single night binge-drinking more likely to cause liver disease than few drinks a week: study

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A single night of binge-drinking is more likely to cause liver disease than a few drinks spread across the week, a study revealed.

According to a study done by the University College London, first reported by the London Standard, measuring the pattern of alcohol intake was more accurate than volume for predicting the risk of developing alcohol-related cirrhosis (ARC).

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, ARC is a stage of liver disease where the liver has become significantly scarred and may cause the liver to stop working correctly.

The scientists analyzed data from 312,599 active alcoholic drinkers in the United Kingdom to assess the impact of the pattern of drinking, genetic predisposition and type-2 diabetes on the likelihood of developing ARC.

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Group of young people hands toasting and cheering aperitif beers (iStock)

Dr Linda Ng Fat, a first author of the study from UCL Epidemiology and Public Health, said that the study’s approach was a “better indicator of liver disease risk than volume alone.”

“We took a different approach by focusing on the pattern of drinking and found that this was a better indicator of liver disease risk than volume alone,” Dr. Fat told the London newspaper. “The other key finding was that the more risk factors involved, the higher the ‘excess risk’ due to the interaction of these factors.”

woman drinking glass of wine

A woman drinking a glass of wine (iStock)

Dr. Fat said the study revealed that those who engaged in heavy binge-drinking, which is defined as having 12 units of alcohol in a day, were three times as likely to develop ARC.

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The risk for those with a high genetic predisposition was four times higher and the risk for type-2 diabetics was two times higher.

People who engaged in binge-drinking while also having a genetic predisposition were six times more likely to develop ARC, the study found.

Man drinking beer

A man drink beer in a bar. (iStock)

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Pamela Healy, Chief Executive of the British Liver Trust told the London Standard that this study revealed that the way people drink alcohol is important and that excessively drinking can have “servious consequences.”

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“This research is important because it reveals that it’s not just how much you drink overall but the way that you drink matters,” Healy said. “Drinking a lot, quickly, or drinking to get drunk can have serious consequences for your liver health.”

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