According to the World Health Organization, excessive alcohol drinking is the most common cause of cirrhosis worldwide. A new worldwide study presented at The International Liver CongressTM 2015 has shown the significant influence of daily drinking on this disease burden. New data shows that the cirrhosis burden caused by alcohol increased by 11.13% when moving from the moderate to heavy daily drinking (up to one drink/day for women; two drinks/day for men) classification (p<.001).
Most studies assessing the prevalence of alcohol abuse as a risk factor for alcoholic cirrhosis focus on total annual amount drunk per person. However, the researchers highlight that clinical studies suggest that it is a high daily consumption which is the strongest predictor of alcoholic cirrhosis. This new research concluded that heavy daily drinkers most significantly and independently influence a country’s cirrhosis burden.
According to the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health, around 6% of global deaths are caused by drinking alcohol, the majority from alcoholic cirrhosis – scarring of the liver as a result of continuous, long-term liver damage. Half of all cases of cirrhosis are caused by alcohol.
The researchers analysed the WHO’s Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health, which included parameters of alcohol consumption and drinking patterns from 193 countries.
Reducing heavy drinking should therefore be considered as an important target for public health monitoring and policies.