Most alcoholics don't take the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding seriously, even though it can be fatal, says a new study.
The study was conducted by Leipzig gastroenterologist Niels Teich and his colleagues and was carried out on more than 400 patients from the German cities of Leipzig and Munich, where the average alcohol consumption was 660 g ethanol per week.
It was revealed in the study that alcoholics often do not realize the possible symptoms of bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract.
The survey tracked that only about 71pct of those who vomited blood, would contact an emergency physician. About 51pct stated that they would contact an emergency physician, if they passed "black fluid". Only 32pct would call emergency medical aid if they were to pass black stools, and only 25pct would seek medical help for all three symptoms.
The less number of time alcoholics see a doctor the more ignorant they become of the fact that treatment is very important and is required urgently.
Women and patients who have been to a doctor more than 12 times in the previous year were best informed.
A very small difference was found in relation to the patients' ages, the younger alcoholics, it was discovered, were more likely to call a doctor than older patients.
In all cases however, the longer a patient delays treatment, waiting till the emergency endoscopy, the worse the prognosis will be.
The study and its findings appear in the current edition of Deutsches Arzteblatt International.