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Effects of Alcohol on the Elderly | Drink Responsibly
Curbing Alcoholism

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Apr 2017

Effects of Alcohol on the Elderly

Posted by / in Curbing Alcoholism, Featured /

Alcohol, one of the most widely prevalent of all social glues across cultures, has already been proven to be the cause of multiple disorders, illnesses and psychological ailments in people of all age groups. When it comes to people above the age of 60, alcohol can have even more devastating effects, especially if consumed in large quantities. In general, it has been observed that old people – and by this, we mean men and women above the age of 60 – tend to consume lesser quantities of alcohol as compared to people between the ages of 18 to 35. As people grow older, their bodies undergo metamorphosis and become more and more vulnerable to substances which are considered harmful for regular consumption. The risk of chronic illnesses grows with age. The elderly tend to consume more medication than younger ones. All these factors can make alcohol a massive health risk for the elderly, if consumed recklessly.

The elderly become more sensitive to alcohol effects with age:

The limited amount of research available with various health forums suggest that with increasing age, human beings tend to become more sensitive to the negative effects of consuming alcohol. With increasing age, the capacity of the human body to retain water decreases significantly. The consumption of alcohol makes this tendency even worse, leading to acute dehydration. Thus, older people tend to exhibit a higher BAC (blood alcohol concentration) than youngsters after consuming the same measure. This is why the elderly might experience the common side effects of consuming hard liquor such as difficulty in focurbssing, slurred speech patterns, and a general lack of mental coordination and numbness even earlier than their younger counterparts. Therefore, it is common to see the elderly having difficulty holding the same amount of alcohol that they could easily withstand in their former years.

Alcohol, when mixed with prescription drugs, can lead to severe poisoning:

Due to developing health issues, many older people have to consume prescription drugs and herbal treatment courses. You might have heard the common saying “do not consume alcohol when on antibiotics”. This holds true for prescription drugs as well. Alcohol is known to leave an effect on the medicines such that they don’t function properly and lead to several side effects, which may prove to be life threatening. Mixing alcoholic substances with a few types of medicines can prove to be fatal – especially sedatives, hypnotics. These can cause sleepiness, nausea, vertigo, a general lack of awareness about the surroundings and other physiological issues.

Furthermore, one of the most prevalent reasons for the rise of heart disease among the elderly is he consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol. Alcohol makes you sluggish and leads to the fortification of blockages, which makes it difficult for blood to flow freely in the veins and arteries leading up to the heart. Excessive clogging can lead to severe heart problems and alcohol is one of the foremost culprits when it comes to heart related diseases in men and women above 60.

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