Are you feeling that holiday punch more than you used to? It's not just your imagination—our bodies metabolize alcohol differently as we age. Even moderate alcohol consumption can have a negative impact on the health of older adults. As you head into holiday party season, here's what you need to know about aging and alcohol along with some tips to help you minimize the unwanted effects of drinking during the holidays.
Some research suggests that, as people age, their alcohol tolerance decreases. After consuming the same amount of alcohol, older adults have a higher blood-alcohol concentration than younger people do, which means they may experience the effects of alcohol differently.
Excessive drinking can worsen existing health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. It can also increase your risk of certain cancers, and prolonged alcohol abuse can take its toll on your heart, brain, liver, muscles, and bones. In addition, many older adults take prescription medications that don't mix well with alcohol. Ask your Rite Aid Pharmacist if it's OK to drink alcohol with your medication(s).
If you are going to drink, remember that moderate alcohol use means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men over the age of 65.
Many adults who don't typically drink will do so in certain social settings, and the holiday season provides many. Even small changes, such as these six tips, can make a big difference when it comes to keeping alcohol consumption under control.
National Institutes of Health, Alcohol and Aging
MedicineNet.com, Aging and Alcohol Use and Abuse
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Strategies for Cutting Down: Tips to Try
Mayo Clinic, Alcohol: If You Drink, Keep It Moderate
PsychCentral, Holiday Drinking: Keep It Safe
University of Notre Dame, Absorption Rate Factors
These articles are not a substitute for medical advice, and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise, or medication regime.