Heavy adolescent drinking in males ups risk of severe liver disease later in life
In males, high levels of alcohol consumption during late adolescence increase the risk of severe liver disease up to 39 years later in life, a recent study has shown.
Alcohol consumption information of 43,296 males (aged 18–20 years) were collected and used in a Cox regression model to determine its effects on incident diagnoses of severe liver disease. The mean daily alcohol consumption in the cohort was 8.6±11.2 grams.
The researchers found that, over a mean follow-up period of 37.8±4.9 years, 383 participants developed severe liver disease, of whom 54.3 percent (n=208) died. Alcohol abuse was diagnosed in 2,661 participants, of whom 9.1 percent (n=243) developed severe liver disease.
Baseline alcohol consumption was a significant predictor of alcohol abuse during the follow-up period. The risk of diagnosis was significantly higher in individuals who reported consumption levels of 1–5 grams per day (hazard ratio [HR], 1.48; 95 percent CI, 1.13–1.95; p=0.005) and of >60 grams per day (HR, 5.22; 3.72–7.32; p<0.001).
In a univariate Cox regression analysis, alcohol consumption was a significant predictor of eventual development of severe liver disease. Each additional gram of daily alcohol consumption led to a significantly higher risk of the disease (HR, 1.03; 1.03–1.04).
After adjusting for confounders such as body mass index, smoking, use of narcotics and cardiovascular capacity, the trends remained significant. For instance, each gram increase in daily alcohol consumption significantly elevated the risk of severe liver disease (HR, 1.017; 1.01–1.023).
A dose-dependent relationship was also observed where statistical significance began at the intake level of 31–40 grams of alcohol per day (HR, 2.31; 1.06–5.05).