How Blindly Imbibing in Too Much Alcohol Can Wreak Havoc on Your Aging Body

When you were young, there was nothing more fun than going out for a few “pops” with your friends after work or cozying up to a fire outside the house on a cool night with a cooler filled with beer handy by yours and your partner’s side. It all seemed so very relaxing, and to be honest, very innocent.

But before you know it, imbibing in alcohol no longer becomes a choice so much as something you want, and then need just to get through a full day. Even if you are committed to your work and just as committed to staying in shape by either cross-training on your own or even working with a life coach, you find that you just can’t avoid the bottle.

Maybe you could handle a little too much alcohol when you were younger, but as you age, its destructive forces become much more evident and debilitating. According to a recent report by the National Institute on Aging, lots of people enjoy an alcoholic drink or two when getting together with friends and family, but alcohol can be highly addictive.

As you age, alcohol consumption can exacerbate existing health problems. It can also cause hazardous interactions with certain prescriptions and medications. Anybody, at any age, can get hooked on alcohol and be burdened with an unhealthy reliance on “booze.”

All too often friends, family, and even health care professionals will overlook their concerns about older people who drink too much. This happens because the bad side effects of alcohol in older adults are often confused for certain physical conditions that are directly related to drinking, like lack of proper balance, for example. However, how the body handles alcohol changes as you age.

How Alcohol Affects You as You Age

When you begin to grow older, prescribed medications and other existing health problems such as diabetes or heart disease might require that you take in less alcohol or abstain from it entirely. You might also come to realize that your body reacts to alcohol differently than it did when you were younger and healthier.

Older people might feel the side effects of drinking even without increasing their intake. The side effects can include car crashes, falls, fractures, lacerations, and more. Women are said to be more sensitive to alcohol and its debilitating effects.

As you age, you might end up developing an unhealthy reliance on alcohol due to the loss of a loved one, or simply not feeling relevant in society any longer. It can also happen if you’re suffering from a failing body (all the more reason to stay fit), or even loneliness, anxiety, boredom, and depression.

Depression in older adults is directly linked to ingesting too much alcohol.

Causation and Correlation of Drinking Too Much

Says the National Institute on Aging, generally happy people who like a have a couple drinks daily, do not necessarily suffer from an alcohol use disorder. They know when to stop.

But not all who misuse alcohol and who possess alcohol use disorder have a drink or two every day. But binge, or heavy drinking, even on occasion, can have harmful effects on the physical and emotional condition. These people usually fall into the category of not knowing when to stop.

How Drinking Too Much Can Wreak Havoc on Your Body

Drinking too much alcohol on a given day or over the course of many days can increase the risk of dangerous consequences such as internal health issues and accidents that result in serious injury. People who openly and secretly abuse alcohol every day not only place themselves at great risk (weight gain is the least of their problems), but they can alienate family and friends which results in loneliness. Lonely people tend to drink too much.

Overdrinking over long periods of time can cause the following:

  • Brain damage, immune system disorders, cancer, and liver damage.
  • Exacerbation of existing health conditions such as high blood pressure, risk of stroke, heart attack, diabetes, osteoporosis, memory loss, and wild mood fluctuations.
  • Make it difficult for medical professionals to accurately diagnose disorders and diseases. For instance, too much alcohol over time causes profound alterations in blood vessels and the heart. The changes can dull the pain that provides the body with a clear warning of an impending heart attack.
  • Cause older people to be forgetful and confused. These are symptoms that can be confused for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA) , we all want to feel our best, and most of us know that quality sleep is required for overall health. Unfortunately, what many may not realize is our consumption of caffeine, sugar, or alcohol in any form and amount can disrupt our sleep and our health and well-being. NCOA created Substances and Sleep to provide individuals with practical insights and tips from health experts and advocates, such as:

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