A study published in the journal Hepatology suggests that the relationship between alcohol use and liver disease is more complex than what has been typically believed.
Based on an analysis of a subset of participants in a Finnish population-based study, the researchers concluded that alcohol is a relevant risk factor for liver disease even when alcohol consumption falls within limits that have traditionally been used to separate alcoholic liver disease from non-alcoholic liver disease.
Lead researcher Fredrik Åberg, of Helsinki University Hospital, stated that in a large number of patients with liver disease, it is difficult to separate the effects of alcohol use and metabolic factors. “Our study brings support to this suggestion and calls for a more holistic approach, where alcohol use and metabolic factors are taken into account at the same time in order to identify individuals with a high risk for severe liver complications,” Åberg said.
The study found that some of the factors predicting a liver event in the study population included alcohol use, older age, diabetes, and insulin resistance.
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