In old age, the body can no longer break down alcohol as well as it did at a young age. Let’s learn why our capacity to tolerate alcohol reduces with age and the dangers of too much alcohol in old age.
Enjoyed a small glass of your favorite scotch or red wine in the evening and the next day you have a headache? One beer with friends quickly gets in your head, even though you tolerated a lot more years ago? You are not alone in this as everybody’s tolerance to alcohol decreases with age.
Alcohol is broken down slower in old age
Alcohol is no longer tolerated so well in old age. There are several reasons for this change. One of the main reasons is that the fluid balance in the body decreases over the years. As a result, the same amount of alcohol in an older person leads to a higher alcohol concentration in the blood than in a younger person. Alcohol, therefore, has a stronger effect.
Also, the body can no longer break down alcohol as quickly as it did in younger years. This is due to the liver, which works more slowly, but the metabolism is also responsible because it becomes sluggish in old age. The use of medication and general health also plays a role. Many older people are not aware that alcohol has a stronger effect on them than in younger adulthood. Besides, special caution is required when dealing with alcohol when taking medication.
These are the consequences of too much alcohol
The consequences of excessive alcohol consumption include an increased risk of cancer, liver, and heart muscle diseases, inflammation of the pancreas, obesity, and a decrease in mental and physical performance. Apart from physical risks, there is also a risk of addiction.
Guidelines for drinking alcohol in old age
One does not necessarily have to completely do without alcohol in old age. Nevertheless, consumption should be well below the recommended maximum levels for young and healthy people.
These guidelines are as follows:
– Men and women should not drink more than ten grams of pure alcohol a day. This corresponds to a small glass of beer (250 ml) or wine (100 ml) or spirits (30 ml). Accordingly, seniors over 65 should consume significantly less. Also, no alcohol should be consumed for two consecutive days a week.
– In case, you are drunk and not feeling well, don’t wait to recover on your own and get in touch with a doctor. You can also consult your doctor to establish a limit of consumption beforehand.
– Do not try drinks with a high percentage of alcohol. They might not suit you at all in old age.
– Drink more water before and after alcohol consumption. This will help you dilute the alcohol in the body, thus reducing the hangover.
– Eat healthier with alcohol. Do not munch away along with drinking alcohol as if it is a cheat day. Eating healthy food with alcohol will keep the stomach full as it is bad enough already to drink on an empty stomach.
– Take a small walk in the garden after drinking and before going to bed. This will help with digestion.
– Consume juices and salads in the morning to reduce hangover.
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Above all, it is you who needs to decide if drinking is suitable for you or not. If you can’t tolerate alcohol, you better not drink it.