Escalation of alcoholic cirrhosis is more pronounced in regions where peak cold climate prevails accompanied by less sunshine, according to a study. The study was led by Neil Shah, MD, of the University of North Carolina.

To some extent, the findings implicitly endorse the popular perception that an alcoholic drink is the best means to stay warm. However, it invariably exposes people to many consequences, noted Shah at the International Liver Congress.

"Our research reveals that a country's climate and geographical location have a startling influence on the burden of liver cirrhosis," said Shah, and senior author Ramon Bataller of the University of North Carolina.

Key Findings Of Cirrhosis Research

The study also observed that for every one-degree rise in temperature at the locations studied there has been a 0.3 percent decrease in alcohol-attributable fraction (AAF) of cirrhosis.

During the research, the multinational team analyzed data from 193 countries and collated information on alcohol consumption, climate, and the sunshine to assess the influence on alcohol-attributable liver cirrhosis.

Reflecting on the utility of the study, Prof Francesco Negro, from the Gastroenterology divisions of University Hospital of Geneva in Switzerland, the study will be valuable to the debate on public policy measures required in addressing the problem of climate-induced alcohol-related cirrhosis.

It is estimated that worldwide 493,000 people die from liver cirrhosis each year.

Cirrhosis Symptoms And Cure

Cirrhosis develops as an abnormal liver condition marked by an irreversible scarring of the liver caused by long-term alcohol addiction, viral hepatitis B and C, and fatty liver.

Some of the prominent symptoms include

  • Pain and swelling in the abdomen
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Dry Mouth and High Thirst

The condition also affects the skin with problems such as

  • Skin turning yellowish with eyes showing a yellow tint
  • Skin scattered with red spider-like veins
  • Feet and hands becoming red
  • Itching

Cirrhosis inflicts long-term damage to the liver as the healthy liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue and it blocks the flow of blood through the liver. Over a period of time, the disease engulfs the liver and leads to complete liver failure.

The liver performs detoxification of impure substances in the body, blood purification, and also produces vital nutrients.

Alcohol consumption is deemed excessive when a man crosses more than 21 units of the drink and a woman takes more than 14 units a week.

Quitting Alcohol Is Best Treatment

The important part of cirrhosis treatment is quitting alcohol completely for the self-healing process. To some extent, vitamins such as B-complex and folic acid also help in reversing malnutrition. However, extreme cases will require a liver transplant.

There are some skeptics who are not convinced about such a connection. Helena Cortez-Pinto of the University of Lisbon said the analysis despite on a very original idea has "many factors of confusion."

Pinto sees a challenge in the statistics drawn from different countries as death certificates carry skewed reliability and affects the accuracy of the findings.

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