Drinking patterns and biochemical signs of alcoholic liver disease in Danish and Greenlandic patients with alcohol addiction

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Lavik, Berit ; Holmegaard, Claes ; Becker, Ulrik (2012)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: International Journal of Circumpolar Health (issn: 1797-237X, eissn: 1239-9736)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/ijch.v65i3.18103
  • Subject: Alcohol, ALAT, Greenland

Objectives. High alcohol intake per capita and a high prevalence of hepatitis B in the population of Greenland is well documented. However, very few studies have been concerned with alcoholic liver diseases in Greenlanders, suggesting a lower prevalence of alcoholic liver disease among Greenlanders. This study was designed to document the prevalence of alcoholic liver diseases in Greenlanders with a high alcohol intake, and to describe and compare the populations of patients with alcohol addiction in Greenland and Denmark. Study design. Clinical cross-sectional study of patients attending alcohol treatment centres in Greenland and Denmark regarding clinical and biochemical signs of liver disease. Methods. One hundred patients from each country answered a questionnaire about demographic variables, social conditions and alcohol consumption patterns. Each patient was examined clinically and biochemically with respect to signs of liver disease, and, when indicated, liver biopsies were taken. Results. 42 % of the Greenlanders and 91% of Danes had abnormal liver function tests. The average Serum-Aspartate amino transferase (ALAT) was 40.0 U/L in Greenlanders and 52.0 U/L in Danes. No liver biopsies with cirrhosis or fibrosis were found in Greenland, whereas three with fibrosis and ten with cirrhosis were found in Denmark. Conclusions. There seems to be a lower prevalence of liver disease in Greenlanders with a high alcohol intake, compared to Danes with similar alcohol patterns.(Int J Circumpolar Health 2006:65(3):219-227.)Keywords: Alcohol, ALAT, Greenland
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