You might want to be able to party like you are twenty-one forever; yet what effect does alcohol have on aging? Reaching for a drink after a tough day can help some people relax and unwind. Wine with dinner or aperitifs afterward can turn an otherwise ho-hum party festive. Yet alcohol, the friend, may suddenly have the propensity to become the foe if it accelerates the aging process, causing folks to not only look, but also feel, older than they are.
For most women – and men too – wrinkles are an unwelcome part of aging. Sagging near the jaw line and bags under the eyes can add years to the face. Excessive alcohol intake can cause wrinkles to appear because alcohol contains certain toxins that can cause skin damage. Excessive alcohol consumption can also cause the capillaries in the face to leak. When this occurs, water can seep in causing the face to sag or look puffy.
As people age, the way their bodies process alcohol changes. Therefore, it could take fewer drinks for a person to become inebriated and the effects of alcohol on the body’s organs could be more profound. Family members and friends of a person with a drinking problem could confuse the alcohol problems with other medical issues such as dementia.
Alcohol and Medication Interaction
Medications may become necessary for health issues that crop up as people age. Oftentimes, people are prescribed medications for health issues such as high cholesterol or hypertension. However, according to the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, elderly people may be likely to mix drugs and alcohol causing an adverse reaction. Mixing the wrong types of medication with alcohol could cause illnesses or even death.
Alcohol and the Body
Bone density decreases as people age which accounts for fractures to places like the hip. Drinking too much can impair balance and cause a slip and fall possibly resulting in a bone fracture. Alcoholism can have a detrimental effect on behavior and intellectual functioning and can cause premature aging of the brain.
As with anything, moderation is the key when it comes to alcohol especially if there is concern about the effects of alcohol and aging. Limit alcohol consumption to one drink and talk to a physician if a patient is taking any type of medication to ensure there will be no negative interactions with alcohol.