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Heavy drinking
means early death for women with hepatitis C

Heavy drinking
means early death for women with hepatitis C

While women with hepatitis C usually live longer than men infected with the virus, heavy drinking removes that survival advantage.

According to a new study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, women with hepatitis C who were not heavy drinkers died at an average age of 61. Those who drank excessively died, on average, just past 49. For men, hepatitis C in combination with heavy drinking lowered the average age of death from 55 years to 50.

Lead study author Chiung Chen said in a statement that evidence from previous studies "indicates that men are less likely to clear acute HCV infection than women, so we are a little bit surprised that the slight advantage for women is completely wiped out by heavy drinking."

Alex DeLuca, former chief and medical director of the Smithers Addiction Treatment and Research Center in New York City, said in a release that the research supported earlier findings that women with hepatitis C generally have a slower progression of the disease, but that heavy drinking is in general harder on women than men. (The Advocate)

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