Quiz: The Alcohol-Cancer Connection

Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS


November 23, 2015

The flushing response is predominantly because of an inherited deficiency in the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) and is relatively common, occurring in about 36% of East Asians.[14] Alcohol consumed by ALDH2-deficient individuals is metabolized to acetaldehyde, which accumulates in the body owing to absent ALDH2 activity and results in facial flushing, nausea, and tachycardia.[15] Long-time or heavy drinkers can develop tolerance to severe acetaldehydemia; consequently, someone with a history of facial flushing after alcohol ingestion but who no longer exhibits this reaction might still be deficient in ALDH2 activity.[16]


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