Greater Hepatic Vulnerability after Alcohol Intake

6 Jan
2010

alcohol consumption girl

INTRODUCTION

Although differences in age-adjusted death rates for chronic liver disease and cirrhosis between the two major ethnic groups in the United States have been considerably reduced in the last two decades, African Americans still exhibit higher rates compared to Caucasians with a larger difference in men. Among possible explanations, differences in alcohol consumption have been postulated as one of the most likely determinants of this ethnic disparity in liver disease mortality. In particular, two hypotheses have emerged in the past few years with regard to this difference. The first one attributes the difference to substantial differences in drinking pattern between the two ethnic groups, as indicated by several studies; alcohol intake by African Americans has been characterized by higher intake per drinking day, more frequent heavy drinking occasions, more stable heavy drinking consumption over time, different types of beverages consumed with more spirits and less wine than whites. The other hypothesis attributes the difference to different genetic susceptibility. Several studies have demonstrated that genetic polymorphisms of key enzymes in alcohol metabolism might explain part of the variations in sensitivity to alcohol toxicity among various racial and ethnic groups. The importance and the independent role of these genetic factors in contributing to cirrhosis-related mortality differences are still controversial, since other environmental and social determinants are clearly involved in this epidemiological pattern. In this study, we evaluated the impact of drinking status and current (past 30 days) alcohol consumption on the most widely used biochemical indicators of liver damage, such as hepatic enzymes (gamma-glutamyltransferase [GGT], aspartate amino-transferase [AST] and alanine amino-transferase [ALT]), in a population sample of adult men and women stratified by racial group (African-American and white). canadian pharmacy support net

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