Risk Stratification

One unit of alcohol is equivalent to 8 g of ethanol (half pint of beer at 3.5% or 25 ml of spirits). Hazardous drinking is defined as regular daily consumption of over 5 units of alcohol for men (>40 g) and over 3 units for women (>24 g). Harmful drinking causes damage to physical or mental health.

Alcohol dependence is behaviour centred on the need to drink alcohol [9]. Evidence suggests drinking 60-80 g per day of alcohol for men and >20 g per day for women increases the risk of ALD. Although studies have shown that a low number of patients (13.5%) with alcohol intake >120 g per day developed ALD.

Risk factors

Clearly there are risk factors which increase the likelihood of ALD happening, such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Genetics

Alcoholic cirrhosis occurs in only 8-20% of alcoholic patients and AH in 6-30%.

The prognosis (long-term) improves with abstinence; the five year survival rate for those with compensated cirrhosis who continue to abuse alcohol is less than 70% with survival of >90% if they stop drinking. Decompensated liver disease survival drops to 30% in five years for those still drinking alcohol [5].

Learning Bite

Prognosis in all stages of ALD improves with abstinence from alcohol