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What is the role of alcohol in cirrhosis of the liver?

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The link between alcohol and cirrhosis is well documented. Studies show that while moderate drinking may actually help prevent strokes and heart disease, heavy drinking has a clearly harmful effect on the liver. For example, the French -- famous for their wine consumption -- have a relatively low incidence of heart disease, but the rate of cirrhosis in France is very high. Many doctors believe that more drinkers die from cirrhosis than are protected from heart disease.

Simply put, the more alcohol you drink -- and the greater the frequency of drinks -- the more likely you are to develop cirrhosis. Because the bodies of men and women process alcohol differently, the amount that you can safely imbibe depends largely on your sex. Women are more susceptible to alcohol-induced liver damage than men.

It's important to note that alcohol tolerance may vary from one person to the next. For some people, one drink per day is enough to leave permanent scars in the liver. If you drink, especially if you do so heavily and often, have a doctor examine you for signs of cirrhosis. This is necessary even if you feel healthy, since the symptoms of cirrhosis often do not appear until it is too late to stop the disease or slow its progress.

From: Cirrhosis and Your Liver WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: 

American Liver Foundation. 

Life Extension Foundation. 

CDC. 

National Center for Health Statistics.

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on May 15, 2019

SOURCES: 

American Liver Foundation. 

Life Extension Foundation. 

CDC. 

National Center for Health Statistics.

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on May 15, 2019

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Does drinking alcohol always lead to cirrhosis?

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