It is obvious that heavy drinking, which taxes the liver even in healthy people, would be near fatal for those suffering from the chronic liver disease, Hepatitis C. But a new report shows that even modest amounts of alcohol can lead to an increased risk of death from liver failure.
The liver's job is to detoxify and filter the blood. In chronic kidney disease such as cirrhosis or Hepatitis infection the liver does not function nearly as well as a healthy one. According to the Centers for Disease Control there are 3.2 million people in the United States with chronic Hepatitis C, 1% of the overall population.
Most people infected do not know that they are infected because they do not feel ill and 75-85% of people who become infected develop a chronic infection that is, at this point, incurable.
The research team tracked patients for 13-14 years and found that people with the infection who drank excessively, which was considered 3-4 drinks a day, were five times more likely to die than drinkers who were not infected.
Surprisingly, patients with the virus who drank up to two drinks a day were twice as likely to die than others who did not have Hepatitis C. One drink in the survey was considered 10 grams of alcohol, which is the equivalent of four ounces of wine, 12 ounces of been or one ounce of hard liquor.
Reseacher Dr. Zobair Younossi told Reuters Health "A drink a day is not OK, even a moderate amount of alcohol use in the setting of hepatitis C can increase the risk of death and liver-related mortality specifically."
The study is published in the journal Ailment Pharmacology an Therapeutics and can be found here.