What is Hepatitis

 How is it Transmitted

 Long Term Prognosis

 Complications of HCV

 Liver Biopsy

 Treatment Info (Interferon, Herbal, etc)

 Lab Tests (PCR, Genotype,etc.)

 Nutrition & Alternative Info

 Patient Information (Support Groups, Doctor Listing, etc)

 Related Webpages

 Transplant Info

 Site Search

 HCV Webrings

 My guestbookbook

 Site Awards

 FAQ & Disclaimers

Alcohol compounds liver damage in hepatitis C
By Anne Harding

NEW YORK, Jan 15 (Reuters Health) - People with hepatitis C who drink heavily quadruple their already high risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver, a new study confirms.

About 4 million people in the United States and 150 million worldwide have hepatitis C, an infection of the liver that is spread by contact with blood and other body fluids. About 20% of people infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) will develop severe and potentially fatal liver damage, or cirrhosis, which in turn increases a person's risk of liver cancer.

"These results stress the need to counsel patients with HCV about their drinking habits," researchers from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Study Group report in the January 16th issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The researchers evaluated patients who had contracted HCV from blood transfusions, and compared them with people who had transfusions but did not develop the infection. In general, HCV patients had a 17% risk of developing cirrhosis. People with HCV who reported themselves to be heavy alcohol users had 31 times the odds of developing cirrhosis than did non-HCV-infected people who were not heavy drinkers.

"Patients are unlikely to have overestimated or fabricated a history of alcohol abuse, but they may have underestimated such a history because of social stigma," the authors point out.

The researchers classified a person as a heavy alcohol abuser based on whether he or she met one of the following criteria: having lost friends, family or a job because of drinking; admitting to have a problem with alcoholism; evidence of heavy drinking from medical records; or having consumed more than 80 grams of alcohol daily during the years when he or she drank.

Eighty grams of alcohol would be equivalent to about five or six 12-ounce cans of beer; five or six 5-ounce glasses of wine; or five or six shots of hard liquor.

SOURCE: Annals of Internal Medicine 2001;134:120-124. Copyright © 2001 Reuters Limited

Home | What is HCV | Transmission | Future | Complications | Biopsy | Treatment | Lab | Nutrition | Patient | Links | Transplant | Webrings | guestbookbook | Awards | FAQ |