Major risk factors for alcoholic hepatitis comprise:

  • Alcohol use. The amount of alcohol consumed is the most important risk factor for alcoholic liver disease. One study found that the risk of cirrhosis of the liver increased with daily ingestion of more than 2 to 2.8 ounces (60 to 80 grams) of alcohol over 10 years for men and 0.7 ounces (20 grams) for women. Yet still, only about 35 percent of heavy long-term drinkers develop alcoholic hepatitis.
  • Your sex. Women have a higher risk of developing alcoholic hepatitis than men do. This disparity may result from differences in the way alcohol is processed by women.
  • Genetic factors. A number of genetic mutations have been identified that affect the way alcohol is broken down in the body. Having one or more of these mutations may increase the risk of alcoholic hepatitis.

Other factors which may increase your risk include:

  • Type of beverage (beer or spirits are riskier than wine)
  • Binge drinking
  • Obesity — alcohol and obesity may have a synergistic effect on the liver; that is, their combined effect is worse than the effect of either of them alone
  • African-American or Hispanic
Nov. 03, 2012