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Impact on the hematopoietic system by alcoholism and the influence of duration of consumption

Sarah Varghese, Mudanna G Bandelkar, Jnaneshwara P Shenoy, Shivakumar Jagadeesan.


Background: The abuse of alcohol brings with it untold misery in the form of health-related problems as well as social issues. Chronic misuse of alcohol affects literally every aspect of bodily functions and organ systems functioning.

Aims and Objectives: This study’s aim was to observe the effect of alcoholism on select blood parameters.

Materials and Methods: A total of 50 subjects who met the criteria for alcoholism and other prescribed inclusion criteria, and 50 age- and sex-matched controls formed the study population. Random blood samples obtained from patients as well as controls were used to estimate complete blood count (hemoglobin [Hb], red blood corpuscle (RBC) count, total leukocyte count (TLC), packed cell volume (PCV), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), and platelet count). Duration of alcohol consumption was also noted. Correlational analysis and t-test were the statistical tests adopted.

Results: There were significantly reduced values for Hb, RBC count, PCV, and platelet count in alcoholics, and a significant increase in MCV in the same group compared to controls. TLC numbers were similar in both groups, and except for PCV, no other parameters showed any significant correlation with the duration of alcohol consumption.

Conclusion: Excessive alcohol consumption affects the erythrocytes and thrombocytes while showing no effect on the leukocytes. In general, duration of alcohol consumption does not seem to influence the severity of these changes.

Key words: Alcoholism; Hemoglobin; Leukocytes; Mean Corpuscular Volume; Platelets

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