Binge drinkers are three times more likely to cause themselves liver damage as people who enjoy a daily glass of wine, according to new research.

A drinker's pattern of alcohol intake is a more accurate indicator of liver disease risk than overall consumption, say scientists.

And people who binge drink and have a certain genetic makeup are six times more likely to develop alcohol-related cirrhosis, according to the findings of the British research.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, is the first to assess how a person’s pattern of drinking, their genetic profile and whether or not they have type-2 diabetes affects their risk of developing alcohol-related cirrhosis (ARC).

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The observation that pattern of drinking is more important than volume, along with the increased risk when genetic makeup and type-2 diabetes are also present, provides more accurate information with which to identify those most vulnerable to liver disease.

Liver disease is one of the major causes of premature death globally, with up to three per cent of the world’s population having cirrhosis - scarring of the liver - or liver disease.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, scientists say alcohol-related deaths have risen by 20 per cent.

For the study, researchers from University College London (UCL), the Royal Free Hospital, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge analysed data from more than 312,000 actively drinking UK adults.

Those who engaged in heavy binge drinking, which is categorised as having 12 units - four pints of strong lager or six standard glasses of wine - in a day at some point during a week, were three times as likely to develop alcohol-related cirrhosis.

The risk for those with a high genetic predisposition was four times higher and the risk for type-2 diabetics was two times higher.

Study first author Dr Linda Ng Fat, of UCL, said: “Many studies that look into the relationship between liver disease and alcohol focus on the volume of alcohol consumed.

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"We took a different approach by focusing on the pattern of drinking and found that this was a better indicator of liver disease risk than volume alone.”

She said that when heavy binge drinking and high genetic predisposition were at play, the risk of developing ARC was six times higher than the baseline risk.

And the addition of type-2 diabetes as well resulted in an even greater risk.

Pamela Healy, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, said: "The UK needs to tackle increased alcohol consumption through a joined up ‘alcohol strategy’ that includes taxation, stronger controls on alcohol advertising and marketing and improved awareness of the dangers of binge drinking.”