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Excessive drinking among the elderly




Excessive drinking among the elderly
One out of ten older adults on Medicare reports drinking more alcohol than is recommended, as per a new study from Brandeis University.

Even though alcohol problems are more prevalent in younger people, a substantial proportion of elderly adults are consuming alcohol in amounts that exceed recommended guidelines, said co-author of study Elizabeth Merrick, senior scientist at Brandeis Universitys Heller School for Social Policy and Management. The study sheds light on a complex problem that has received scant attention and is often missed by health care and other providers, she said.


Excessive drinking among the elderly

Reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the study reviewed data about 12,413 Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 or older. Merrick and her colleagues observed that 9 percent engaged in unhealthy drinkingconsuming more than thirty drinks per month, or drinking four or more drinks on any day in a typical month. The study, based on a 2003 Medicare survey, also reported that two-thirds of beneficiaries do not drink, while one-quarter drink within the recommended guidelines.

As per the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the American Geriatrics Society, risky drinking among those 65 years and older occurs when a person consumes more than seven drinks per week or more than three drinks on a single day. OOther guidelines suggest that the single-occasion drink limit should be no more than two drinks, and that women should drink even lower overall amounts than men.

Merrick said some older people may not be aware that recommended limits are lower than for younger people. Elderly adults are more sensitive to alcohol and less able to metabolize it, both of which contribute to adverse effects at any level of drinking. Alcohol can exacerbate some medical problems, reduce a persons ability to function, increase the risk of falls, and negatively interact with medication.

The relationship between alcohol consumption and risk is complex. Our study focused only on amounts of alcohol consumed. There are a number of people for whom lower amounts or even any amount of alcohol may constitute a serious risk because of specific medical problems or medicine interactions, explained Merrick. All of these factors must be taken into account, along with the perhaps more highly publicized benefits of moderate drinking for some people.


Posted by: Janet    Source




Did you know?
One out of ten older adults on Medicare reports drinking more alcohol than is recommended, as per a new study from Brandeis University. Even though alcohol problems are more prevalent in younger people, a substantial proportion of elderly adults are consuming alcohol in amounts that exceed recommended guidelines, said co-author of study Elizabeth Merrick, senior scientist at Brandeis Universitys Heller School for Social Policy and Management. The study sheds light on a complex problem that has received scant attention and is often missed by health care and other providers, she said.

Medicineworld.org: Excessive drinking among the elderly

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