Heavy Drinking Exacts Toll on Women With Hepatitis C

Imbibing eliminates survival advantage over men, study finds

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THURSDAY, Jan. 25, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Heavy drinking slashes the life spans of women with hepatitis C, a new study says.

Publishing in the February issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, the researchers noted that women with hepatitis C tend to live longer than men with the virus. However, this study found that heavy drinking eliminates that survival advantage in women.

The study analyzed 132,468 hepatitis C- and heavy drinking-related deaths in the Multiple Cause of Death files of the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.

They found that women with hepatitis C who were not heavy drinkers died at an average age of 61, compared to about age 49 for women who had hepatitis C and were heavy drinkers.

Among men with hepatitis C, heavy drinking lowered the average age of death from about age 55 to age 50.

"Previous studies indicated that alcohol use is a risk factor for HCV (hepatitis C virus) disease progression, but they seldom examined the effect on women and men separately," study author Chiung Chen, a research analyst at CSR Inc., said in a prepared statement. "Even fewer studies were able to examine the effect of alcohol on HCV mortality. Our study provides empirical evidence to fill the gap."

CSR Inc. conducted the study under contract with the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about hepatitis C.

SOURCE: Center for the Advancement of Health, news release, Jan. 25, 2007


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