The effects of Alcohol on Older People

Alcohol is found in beverages such as wine, spirit and beer and around Christmas time, it is found in more and more foods such as Christmas cake, pudding and occasionally boozy mince pies. Many people stop drinking alcohol as they get older but for many people there alcohol intake increases. It is estimated that around 40% of adults over 65 drink alcohol. As you get older alcohol begins to affect your body differently and thus it is important to know the impacts it might have. 

Sensitivity to Alcohol

Older people have a lower tolerance to alcohol than younger people, thus they will experience the effects of alcohol more quickly and severely. The ratio of water to body fat decreases with age and thus alcohol has a faster effect on the brain. For this reason, it is necessary to adapt your drinking habits with age. This can put older people at greater risk of accidental and unintentional injuries as a result of drinking. 

Alcohol and Medication

It is common that many older people take medication, including both non-prescription drugs and prescription drugs for various reasons. Alcohol can impact the way that these medications affect the body. Alcohol usage alongside certain medications can cause the medication to become dangerous having negative health implications. Alcohol can make these medicines stronger or weaker and sometimes they can make the side-effects worse.

For example, mixing alcohol and certain drugs can cause sleepiness, confusion and a lack of coordination which can lead to unwanted accidents. It is important to note that many medications stay in the body for at least several hours after taking and thus it is essential to follow the instructions on all medicines for optimum usage.  

Cause of Worsen Health Problems

Excessive alcohol drinking can cause serious health problems especially to older people. Heavy drinking can cause damage to the liver, the heart and the brain. Alcohol usage can cause the immune system to weaken which can increase the risk of certain cancers developing in the body. Additionally, certain health conditions can be worsened with alcohol usage including, diabetes, heart issues, liver and memory problems. Alcohol contains a large amount of calories with one pint of lager being the equivalent to a slice of pizza, meaning drinking can increase your chance of being overweight subsequently increasing your risk of developing diabetes. Furthermore, older people with depression and anxiety issues are also more likely to have alcohol problems, which also worsen with alcohol usage. 

Alcohol and Liver Disease

One of the most common effects of alcohol drinking is liver damage. Drinking alcohol can significantly increase your chances of developing liver disease especially in older people. It is not just excessive alcohol usage that increases your risk of develop liver diseases. In order to stay healthy and liver disease free it is important to eat healthily and stay active. Eating well can help to support the liver to function and thus plays a crucial role in your health.

Alcohol does impact the body differently as you get older and thus it is becomes increasingly important to keep track of what you are drinking. Furthermore, the wonderful staff at our care homes are always available to give support and assistance.