Acute pancreatitis has been linked to drinking spirits, more so than wine or beer, a study reveals.
Heavy drinkers are more likely to develop the condition than those who consume the recommended amount of alcohol.
Between 1% and 3% of people who consume more than four or five drinks a day will develop an inflamed pancreas over 10 to 20 years. It accounts for 25,000 hospital admissions and 950 deaths in England per year.
According to researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, whose findings were published in the British Journal of Surgery, drinking spirits increases the risk of developing acute pancreatitis, and just one large drink can have an effect.
The researchers came to this conclusion after analysing the data of 84,601 people aged 46 to 84 for a decade. Around 513 of those developed acute pancreatitis during the process.
They discovered that one drink containing 12g of alcohol, which is equivalent to slightly less than a double (50ml) pub measure of spirits, increased the risk by just under 10%, while consuming 60g of alcohol in one sitting, or seven and a half standard spirit measures, increased the risk by 52%.
Dr Sadr-Azodi said the study showed a “steady increase between each measure of spirits a person drank on one occasion and the risk of having an acute attack of pancreatitis”.