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Binge Drinking Among Older American Women On The Rise

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A new study reveals that older women in America are prone to excessive drinking.

According to the study's author Rosalind Breslow, increased drinking, as well as heavy drinking, may lead to serious health issues for women.

Breslow explained that when compared to men, women start getting complications at lower levels of drinking. This is because a woman's alcohol tolerance level is lower than that of men.

The low alcohol tolerance is attributed to the physiological differences between the two sexes. Breslow stated that on an average women weigh less than men, as well as have reduced amount of water levels in their body.

This mean that if a man and a woman of the same weight drink the exact amount of liquor, the blood alcohol concentration will be greater in the woman's body. This puts the woman at greater risk of injury.

Binge Drinking In Older American Women

For the research, Breslow and her team acquired data from over 65,000 current male and female drinkers who were aged 60 years and above. Among them, roughly 1,700 women and over 6,500 men were binge drinkers.

Breslow noted that older people have a higher risk of getting impacted by effects of binge drinking vis-à-vis younger people.

"They're more sensitive to the effects of alcohol, which can contribute to falls and other injuries, a major problem in older people," she noted.

The study also discovered that the popularity of heavy drinking is severely increasing in older American women, faster than it is in older American men.

The researchers found that from 1997 to 2014, the percentage of older American men drinkers increased around 1 percent each year, whereas the percentage of women drinkers increased almost 2 percent annually.

The study, however, did not analyze if binge drinking occurs among specific ethnic or racial groups.

Risks Of Binge Drinking

The researchers shared that heavy alcohol consumption poses several risks, such as physical injuries and even death. It can also cause homicide, drowning, vehicle accidents, sexual assaults, suicides, and lethal falls, especially among older adults.

Heavy drinkers are also more susceptible to several health issues, such as heart problems, liver disease, depression, sleeping disorders, stomach bleeding, stroke, STD due to unsafe sex, or even cancer. Drinking heavily also has negative effects on an individual's blood pressure, diabetes, and numerous chronic conditions.

Breslow advises that people over 65 years should take a maximum of seven drinks per week, or should abstain from drinking if their health condition does not allow alcohol consumption.

J.C. Garbutt, medical director of the University of North Carolina Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program, remarked that he is unable to explain why binge drinking is increasing in older women.

The study has been published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research on March 24.

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