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Alcoholism predominant among hepatitis C patients: Study

Alcoholism predominant among hepatitis C patients: Study

July 21 | By Rachael

Alcohol is a dangerous substance and can be a cause for a gamut of health problems. When casual drinking becomes an indispensable part of life and creates dependence, it can have negative consequences. It can be extremely difficult to trace its adverse effects in the initial stage. However, by being conscious about the signs and symptoms of alcohol-related disorders, one may be better prepared to recognize alcohol addiction in its nascent stage.

A number of health conditions, such as cancer, anemia, cardiovascular issues, depression, gout, seizures, are associated with alcohol addiction. A recent study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in May 2016, suggested that people infected with hepatitis C are more prone to alcohol addiction.

Hepatitis C virus infects the liver and alcohol addiction may further increase the damage caused by the virus, the researchers said. The virus affects almost 3.5 million people in the U.S., however, it still goes undetected due to fewer symptoms. Alcohol-related liver illnesses were the third major cause of death among patient suffering from hepatitis C, in the U.S. in 2010.

Adults with hepatitis C thrice more likely to be heavy drinkers

People suffering from hepatitis C were three times more likely to have five or more drinks every day, said the study. Alcohol was found to disrupt the functioning of the liver by triggering the development of fibrosis, leading to scarring of the liver that makes it life-threatening for somebody struggling with hepatitis C.

The primary cause of liver infection (Hepatitis C) is transmission of virus through the blood, probably through sharing of needles. It poses long-term health problems like liver cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As part of the study, the researchers collated data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that involved some 20,000 people. They focused on hepatitis C infection rates among four groups: teetotaler, former drinkers, present non-heavy/casual drinkers and current heavy drinkers. The results showed higher rates of hepatitis C among former alcoholics and present heavy drinkers as compared to teetotaler and those who drank in moderation.

It was observed that despite being infected by the Hepatitis C virus at some point in their life, 50 percent of the respondents were unaware of their hepatitis C status and the risk it entails.

“This highlights the need for increased diagnosis, as well as comprehensive and effective interventions to link hepatitis C-infected individuals to curative treatments now available and provide education and support needed to reduce alcohol use,” said lead investigator Amber Taylor, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Viral Hepatitis. As per the CDC, everyone born between 1945 and 1965 should be checked for hepatitis C virus and those who test positive must be screened for alcohol use.

The researchers stated that these findings could help health care providers come up with the most appropriate treatment plans, with long-term benefits and a high success rate, for their patients.

Seeking treatment

In the U.S., the issue of alcohol abuse is all pervasive and claims nearly 88,000 lives per year. It could be due to the fact that drinking has been an integral part of the culture and there is no social stigma attached to it.

If a loved one is in the grip of alcoholism and you are looking for alcohol addiction treatment in Colorado, call the 24/7 Colorado Alcohol Addiction Helpline for immediate assistance. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-592-9261 or chat online to know about the best alcohol rehab in Colorado, where sobriety can be turned into a reality.