Drinking just one measure of spirits increases the risk of acute pancreatitis

DrinkingDrinking just one 4cl measure of spirits can increase the risk of an acute attack of pancreatitis, but wine or beer does not appear to have the same effect, according to a study published online by BJS, the British Journal of Surgery. The study suggests that there are constituents in spirits that are not present in wine and beer and that they can cause acute pancreatitis, either on their own or in combination with alcohol.

Key findings of the study included:

In 56 per cent of cases the cause of the acute pancreatitis was alcohol-related or of uncertain or unknown origin (66 per cent were men) and in 44 per cent of cases it was gallstone related (48 per cent were men). The average age of the patients with pancreatitis was 64 years.

Single occasion alcohol consumption, including wine, beer and spirits, was highest in males and younger patients.

High single occasion spirits consumption was associated with higher levels of diabetes (nine per cent) than low alcohol consumption (six per cent)

People who had never smoked, were more highly educated and regularly ate fruit and vegetables were less likely to drink large quantities of beer and spirits.

Eliminating patients with gallstone-related disease did not affect the overall results and only reduced the overall risk of an acute attack after consuming five measures of spirits from 52 per cent to 39 per cent.

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