BACKGROUND: Atrophy of the papillae, mucosa, and dorsum of the tongue are considered classical signs of nutritional deficiencies. OBJECTIVE: To assess the nutritional status of hospitalized alcoholics with or without papillary atrophy of the tongue. METHODS: This study was performed with 21 hospitalized alcoholics divided into Atrophic Glossitis Group (n=13) and Normal Tongue Group (n=8). Healthy, non-alcoholic volunteers composed the Control Group (n=8). Anthropometry and bioelectric impedance were performed, and serum vitamins A, E, and B12 were determined. RESULTS: There were no statistical differences in relation to age (46.7±8.7 vs. 46.8±15.8 years) or gender (92.3% vs. 87.5% male), respectively. Control Group volunteers were also paired in relation to age (47.5±3.1 years) and male predominance (62.5%). In relation to hospitalized alcoholics without atrophic lesions of the tongue and Control Group, patients with papillary atrophy showed lower BMI (18.6 ± 2,5 vs 23.8 ± 3.5 vs 26.7 ± 3,6 kg/m² ) and body fat content 7.6 ± 3.5 vs 13.3 ± 6.5 vs 19.5 ± 4,9 kg). When compared with the Control Group, alcoholic patients with or without papillary atrophy of the tongue showed lower values of red blood cells (10.8 ± 2.2 vs 11.8 ± 2.2 vs 14.5 ± 1,6g/dL) and albumin (3.6 ± 0.9 vs 3.6 ± 0.8 vs 4.4 ± 0.2g/dL). The seric levels of vitamins A, E, and B12 were similar amongst the groups. CONCLUSION: Hospitalized alcoholics with papillary atrophy of the tongue had lower BMI and fat body stores than controls, without associated hypovitaminosis.
Alcoholism; Anthropometry; Glossitis; Tongue diseases; Vitamins