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wine consumption..how much is considered safe?

  Dear Doctor:
  I often have 2 glasses of wine with dinner or before bed.  A friend tells me this can damage the liver if taken every night.  I thought this was harmless and I find it relaxing.  Is there any harm to the liver in dring a couple of glasses of wine?  How much would be considered safe?  Thank you for your response.
Dear Marge,
Several studies have confirmed that drinking alcohol for long periods of time can lead to cirrhosis of the liver. The minimum amount of alcohol intake assoicated with an increased risk of developing alcoholic liver disease ranges from 40-80 grams per day for 10-12 years. It is also accepted that women develop more severe alcoholic liver disease more quickly and at lower doses than men do. In men the generally accepted hazardous level is 80 grams per day, but for women the hazardous level seems to be about 60 grams per day. Since studies have shown that the majority of individuals developing alcoholic liver disease ingested more than 35 units of alcohol per week (one unit of alcohol= 1 ounce of spirits, 12 ounces of beer or  4 ounces of wine),  21 units of alcohol per week in men and 14 units in women has been suggested as a safe limit of alcohol intake. However, a recent study demonstrated liver toxicity in women with consumption of more than 7 units of alcohol per week. The increased susceptibility to liver injury in women may be secondary to differences in the metabolism (breakdown) of alcohol in the body. It is also important to note that in patients with other concomitant liver diseases such as hepatitis C viral infection or hemochromatosis continued alcohol use will accelerate liver damage. In those patients total alcohol abstinence is recommended. You must realize that these amounts are only guidelines based on the data from previous studies. This range is not an absolute number. There may be cases of alcoholic liver disease at  a lower amount of alcohol consumption. I hope you find this information helpful.
  This response is being provided for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Always check with your personal physician when you have a question pertaining to your health.
  : If you would like to be seen at our institution please call 1-800-653-6568, our Referring Physicians' Office and make an appointment to see Dr. Muszkat, one of our experts in Gastroenterology.
  : HFHSM.D.-ym
  : *Keywords: alcoholic liver disease

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