Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) was measured at presentation in 320 hospital patients with a history of excessive alcohol consumption. The MCV of the 94 women thought to be actively drinking more than 80 g/day of alcohol was 101.3 fl compared with 96.7 fl in their male counterparts. Alcohol consumption, age, smoking habits, prevalence of inadequate diet, or serum and red cell folate levels did not differ significantly between men and women. It is suggested that MCV is a better indicator of excessive alcohol consumption in women than in men, and that women are more susceptible to the haematological toxicity of alcohol.
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