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Addiction and Substance Abuse

Alcohol and Removal of the Spleen

04/22/2004

Question:

Waht effect would alcohol comsumption have on a 50 yr old adult male with no spleen?

Would these results be the same with beer/wine as whiskey?

Is amt/frequency play a factor in the results?

Answer:

Alcohol consumption would have about the same effect on a 50 yr. old adult male with a spleen as without a spleen. If anything, there would be an indirect effect of possibly increasing the risk of certain infections, since alcohol can depress the immune system, and since lack of a spleen can also leave a person prone to certain infections. The results would be the same with beer, wine, or whiskey. What is important is the amount of alcohol taken in, and the amount of alcohol in a 12 ounce beer, in a 4 ounce glass of wine, and in a shot (1.5 ounce) of whiskey is identical. Amount and frequency would be important only in terms of general health effects.

Guidelines suggest that a healthy 50-year- old man drink no more than 2 drinks per day, and no more than 4 drinks at a single setting. If you have more particular concerns, please consult a primary care physician or a liver specialist.

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Response by:

Christina M Delos Reyes, MD Christina M Delos Reyes, MD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University