How Many People Are Affected by Asian Flushing January 07 2015

A good number of Asian people have a genetic makeup that causes them to have pronounced physiological reactions to alcohol. This is called Asian flushing, sometimes Asian glow and, when people are being a bit more comical, sometimes the Asian experience.

According to recent studies, this condition affects anywhere between 30% and 50% of Asian people. The genetic mutation they carry causes them to process alcohol in a way that leaves too much acetaldehyde in the system. The presence of this particular substance is what causes the reaction.

Who Is Affected?

Most people who have Asian flushing are of East Asian descent. It is not nearly as common in people of other heritages, though it is seen. It’s estimated that only approximately 7% of people of European heritage, for example, have the particular genetic mutation that causes flushing. Where the symptoms are seen in people from other races, the cause may be different.

Asian glow can affect people of any age and it will affect different people much differently. People who have severe reactions will generally drink far less than people who only react occasionally and, in fact, some people may only react when they have a great deal of alcohol.

Whenever the reaction occurs, however, it should be taken seriously. There are some increased risks – esophageal cancer and, to some degree, heart issues – that people who have this condition have to deal with.

How Do People Deal with It?

Asian flushing does mean that, as an adult, you have to weigh the potential health impacts of consuming alcohol differently than people who don’t suffer from this particular genetic mutation. However, people are able to drink responsibly and, of course, they do have to deal with the occasional very red face, but are able to enjoy themselves in moderation.

There actually are some potential hidden benefits to this. For one thing, anybody who has Asian flushing, or just flushing, if they don’t happen to be Asian, has a good indicator of when they’ve had too much to drink are when they are drinking too frequently. The effects of flushing quite often encourage people to drink a bit less, and that can be a good thing.

Doctors will recommend that people with this condition do cut down on the amount that they drink. If you do suffer from flushing – even if you’re not Asian – you should talk to your physician about it and make sure that you drink responsibly when you do decide to enjoy an alcoholic beverage.

Legal Stuff: We should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical advice. If you’re going to drink, do it legally and responsibly; don’t be stupid =).