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Fat and Drunk Brings Bigger Liver Disease Risk

How the Amount You Drink – and the Amount You Weigh – Affects Liver Disease Risk

Researchers say a man's weight affects his risk for liver disease if he's a heavy drinker.

Most of us know that when you drink in excess, it not only does a number on your liver, but it does a number on your waistline.

Hey, they don’t call them “beer bellies” for nothing.

But many people drink alcohol when they’re already overweight.  These people, obviously, aren’t immune to weight gain; they’re just as prone to pack on the pounds as thin people who drink lots of alcohol are.

But where things get really dicey for people who drink a lot and are overweight is the toll it puts on their liver.  Because according to research published in the British Medical Journal, excessive alcohol consumption harms the liver of people who are obese far more than it harms the liver of people who are in a healthy weight range.

Researchers from the University of Glasgow in Scotland discovered this liver/libation link after looking at the health profiles of approximately 9,600 men in two separate studies, one beginning in 1965, the other in 1970.  All the men were followed into the year 2007.

Overall, about 450 men died, most of the deaths attributed to complications from liver disease.  But when researchers looked into cancer registries and hospital admissions, they found that the likelihood of their being plagued with liver disease depended largely on the amount of alcohol the men drank in a typical week and what their weight was.

For instance, while heavy drinking, healthy weight men were three times more likely to have liver disease than their normal weight, non-drinking counterparts, that’s nothing compared to heavy drinking obese men.  For them, their risk of liver disease was 19 times higher compared to thin-as-a-rail lushes (i.e. the researchers defined “heavy drinking” as drinking 15 alcoholic beverages in a week).

Researchers aren’t sure why, exactly, alcoholic obese men are so much more at risk for liver disease than thin alcoholic men, but they have some theories.

One of them is that because excess weight puts a heavy toll (pardon the pun) on the liver, the toll is compounded when alcohol is brought into the equation.  The liver has to clear the body of toxins, and when the liver is weighed down by excess fat accumulation, it’s working in overdrive.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, the researchers conclude, “New perspectives on the risk of liver disease may need to be considered for people who are overweight and consume alcohol.”

The general consensus in the health world is that people should drink no more than two alcoholic beverages per day.  But as the researchers indicate, that may be too much for people who are overweight.

Stay tuned for what, if any, new recommendations result from health officials following this truly eye opening study.

Sources:
newsmaxhealth.com

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  3. Moderate Wine Consumption May Delay Alzheimer’s Disease, Research Shows
  4. Heart Disease Death Risk Lowered by One-Third Through Vitamin D, Study Says
  5. Finding the Booze Balance for Brain Health
  


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