Binge Drinking Prevents Wound Healing
Findings from recently published studies strongly suggest that binge drinking will contribute to delayed wound closure and enhanced infection by significantly affecting the immune system. This could be very important information to help physicians better treat many patients and understand delayed or difficult healing difficulties in some patients.
Katherine A. Radek, PhD, and research colleagues from Loyola University Chicago published their results.
The study showed, for the first time, that binge alcohol exposure reduces the amount of white blood cells that chew up bacteria and debris. This defect, in part, makes the wound more likely to be infected by bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus. The study also found that binge alcohol exposure impaired the production of a protein that recruits macrophages to the wound site. Binge alcohol also reduced levels of another key component of the immune system known as CRAMP, a type of small protein present in the outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis. These small proteins, called antimicrobial peptides, kill bacteria and recruit macrophages and other immune system cells to the wound site.
Currently 20 to 40% of patients hospitalized in the United States have issues with alcohol abuse. The risk of serious infection of wounds and even death is twice as likely to occur when patients were binge drinkers. They also had higher re-admission rates than patients who did not abuse alcohol. Binge drinkers were defined in the study as those who drank at least twice the legal limit, along with a repeating pattern of excessive drinking followed by a period of no drinking.
The possibility to help reduce the healing time of a large number of patients by understanding alcohol’s negative influence on wound healing is welcome news. Binge drinking is dangerous and often a hidden problem, so consider sharing this message to help spread the warning.
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