Health Risks After 40 – Part Three

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In today’s world, it seems like our society has normalized women drinking. For many, it is the norm to have a glass (or two) of wine on a nightly basis. In fact, even the advertisers have become more sophisticated in their marketing of alcohol to women. They started marketing flavored vodka, pre-made vodka spritzers, the list goes on. They want us to think we deserve a glass of wine because we had a great day or a horrible day, and they are making it convenient to indulge.

For the most part, women are buying into it, especially women over 50. But, unlike a bottle of wine that gets better with age, our aging bodies that consume too much alcohol do not. I am only picking on wine because it seems like it is the go to drink for many women I know, but the information is the same regardless of what kind of alcohol you drink.

The Facts

There is confusion regarding the health benefits or lack of benefits to moderate drinking. One source states drinking a glass of red wine a night is good for our heart or promotes weight loss. But another article says the complete opposite, that drinking much can increase your chance of getting cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, the list goes on.

So how much alcohol daily is too much? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Dietary Guidelines for Americans advises that women consume no more than one drink daily. This may not always seem feasible, so talk with your physician and find out your daily/weekly guidelines. The fact is that as woman we can not metabolize alcohol like we once did. Aging women have a higher percentage of body fat, which can’t absorb alcohol. As a result, women have higher levels of alcohol in their bloodstream. Moreover, hormonal changes can increase the absorptions of each glass by as much as 20%.

Health Risks of Drinking Too Much

Liver Disease: Women develop inflammation more quickly with less alcohol than men.

Heart: Chronic heavy drinking is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease. Women are more susceptible to alcohol-related heart disease, even though women drink less alcohol over a lifetime than men.

Vascular: Women are four times more likely to have a stroke from excessive drinking than men are.

Cancer:  Many studies report that heavy drinking increases the risk of breast cancer. Alcohol also is linked to cancers of the digestive tract.

Osteoporosis:  two drinks per day leads to a significantly increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures because alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium.

The Bottom Line

The key is moderation! Some research also suggests giving yourself at least two consecutive days without alcohol. Now you have more information on how alcohol can affect your health as you age. Make the right decisions for your health and wellness goals.

As mentioned above, it’s alway best to check with your physician to determine how much alcohol you can enjoy on a weekly basis without compromising your health. They have your statistics and can give guidelines to follow. The above recommendations are general guidelines to follow.

 

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