Alcohol-related problems in Taiwan with particular emphasis on alcoholic liver diseases

Jean Dean Liu, Kam Wah Leung, Chung Kwai Wang, Li Ying Liao, Chaur Shine Wang, Pao Huei Chen, Chiao Chicy Chen, Eng Kung Yeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Socioeconomic development has led to a progressive increase of alcohol consumption in Taiwan, with an accompanying increase in alcohol-related psychiatric problems, traffic accidents, and liver disease. The prevalent rates of alcohol dependence for Han Chinese and Fomosan aborigines were 0.1% and 1%, respectively in 1950. The rate of alcohol dependence increased to 23% for aborigines in 1995. The number of cases of death and serious injuries due to alcohol-related traffic accident has decreased, and the number of fatalities resulting from these accidents has decreased from third to eighth since the inception of a program of random traffic stops with alcohol breath test in 1997. Alcohol liver disease (ALD) was defined as daily alcohol consumption of 60 g, for a duration of longer than 5 years. We classified ALD patients into two groups: (1) those whose average daily consumption of alcohol exceeded 120 g for a duration longer than 15 years (group A); and (2) all other patients (group B). The case records of 33 cases of biopsy-confirmed ALD were obtained for study. The average of daily alcohol consumption in these cases was 160 g. All but one of these patients were male, age ranged from 26 to 69 years, with an average of 43.1. Clinically, ill-defined gastrointestinal symptoms were the most common presentation (61%), and hepatomegaly was the main physical sign (73%). The average mean corpuscular volume values of ALD and non-ALD patients were 102.3 ± 10.94 and 94.5 ± 8.1, respectively (p <0.01). The mean corpuscular volume values of group A and group B were 102.9 ± 9.7 vs. 96.5 ± 9.11 (p <0.05). Result from serum SGOT/SGPT and γ-glutamyltransferase/alkaline phosphatase for ALD and non-ALD revealed statistically significant differences between these groups. Using the avidin-biotin complex technique, tissue IgA deposition for ALD patients was found to be different from that of non-ALD patients. Ten of 13 ALD patients vs. 2 of 13 non-ALD patients had continuous-form IgA deposition. Histologically, 45.5% of ALD patients had alcoholic cirrhosis, whereas alcoholic hepatitis was present in only 9.1 % of patients. Overall, 88% of cases showed various severity of fatty metamorphosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164S-169S
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number3 SUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Alcohol Dependence
  • Alcohol Liver Disease
  • Alcoholism
  • Prevalence Rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology


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