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Even occasional binge drinking may come with consequences

Category: Liver Diseases

People may think that the only individuals who need lab tests to check their liver function are older people or those who drink heavily, and they would be wrong. According to recent research from the University if Missouri, even those who only consume large quantities of alcohol on the weekends may find themselves at an increased risk of developing serious problems with their liver. These findings should encourage people to get regular lab tests, and consider keeping their drinking in check.

"In our research, we found that binge drinking has a profound effect on the liver in various modes of alcohol exposure," said Shivendra Shukla, Ph.D., Margaret Proctor Mulligan Professor at the University of Missouri School of Medicine and corresponding author of the study. "No longer can we consider chronic alcohol consumption as the only factor in developing alcoholic liver disease."

An increasing problem
The researchers explained that binge drinking is a problem across the U.S. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that binge drinking is defines as a woman having four or more alcoholic drinks in two hours, and for men it is five in the same period of time. Furthermore, at least 29 percent of women and 43 percent of men in the U.S. have engaged in binge drinking at least once in the past year.

The scientists conducted a study on rats and found that binge drinking does damage to the liver in rats whose livers had been exposed to large amounts of alcohol in the past. Also, Shukla added that binge drinking may not only have effects on the liver, but other parts of the body as well.

He explained that this type of drinking creates an inflammatory response in the liver that can send out signals to the rest of the body, affecting other organs.

Ways to drink less
People who are looking to cut back on their alcohol consumption should think about how they want to behave, according to Real Simple magazine. The news source explained that before going to a party or a bar individuals should ask themselves: "What do I want to act like at this event?" If the answer is that they want to stay composed and in control, then they should keep this in mind when they are deciding how much alcohol they are going to drink.

Furthermore, people should think of the potential damage they may be causing to their bodies by excessive drinking.

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