According to the CDC ( Center for Disease Control and Prevention), 7% of men are more likely to fall into alcoholism as compared to only 4% of women. It is because of lower body mass women tend to feel the inhibitory effects of alcohol faster than men and thus stop at a lower number of drinks than men.
And this worsens with age. Addiction gets stronger with age and so do the adverse effects. So let’s examine how harmful alcohol is for older adults, especially men:
1. Increased Sensitivity
As our bodies age, it lowers our tolerance to alcohol consumption. CDC reports that men are more likely to binge drink which means having four to five drinks in a span of two hours. Stats show that on average 68000 older males die because of excessive drinking.
Weakness and overall less efficient body function in old age, paired with the lack of proper brain function due to drinking, puts older men at more risk of car crashes, violence, injuries, and even suicide.This increased sensitivity also leads to problems such as loss of muscle, loss of fat, and liver damage.
2. Increased Health Problems
Health problems of all kinds are inflicted upon older adults due to excessive alcohol consumption. While it’s true that adults are afflicted with a range of diseases simply because of old age. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests alcohol consumption can cause as well as aggravate these health conditions. Diseases included are cardiomyopathy, osteoporosis, liver failure, blood pressure etc. Among older men, alcohol consumption can also lead to sexual and reproductive health problems such as erectile dysfunction and even infertility. Apart from physical problems, mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and ultimately dementia are aggravated in older adults.
3. Harmful interaction with medication
We are often asked by physicians not to take medicine with anything other than water because these prescription drugs can become dangerous and even deadly. A study by the National Institute of biotechnology information, suggests that one of the biggest health risks in older adults is because they often mix the medication with alcohol. Further, alcohol is known to modify drug concentrations and increase drug toxicity. The changes and the effects on each adult depend upon their general health, metabolism, and concentration, and distribution of alcohol and medicine are taken. It not only changes over-the-counter medicines from harmless cough syrup, aspirin to herbal medicines like chamomile and lavender as well.
4. Increase in STDs
A rising problem between older men living in senior communities is getting affected by sexually transmitted diseases. While it’s good for health to be sexually active but not at the risk of getting STDs. A study involving 110,000 healthcare providing centers showed that senior adults are 23% more likely to be affected by gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes simplex, and syphilis, etc. An increase in alcohol consumption is associated with unprotected sex which ultimately leads to STDs. Although this behavior has been seen among adults since they are 18 but coupled with other risk factors it affects the elderly more.
In conclusion, in the short term, people usually associate alcohol with bad decision-making and temporary loss of judgment which translates to accidents and risky sex. But in the longer run, it has the capacity to damage your organs. When it comes to male adults, the general behavior pattern and physiology further damages their bodies as they get older and alcohol can only accelerate this problem. We recommend getting your loved ones, especially older males checked every 3 months because loneliness, retirement, and other mental health problems can contribute to increased alcohol consumption.