More and More Older Women Are Heavy Drinkers

Old woman drinking alcoholA new study suggests more and more older women in the U.S. are heavy drinkers and the rate of binge drinking among this group of population is skyrocketing. What’s more, the number of binge drinkers among older women is rising dramatically faster than among older men, the study found.

Older Women Twice As Likely to Become Binge Drinkers

While among men, the rate of alcoholism rose by 1% between 1997 and 2014, among women, the rate increased by 2% every year. Lead author of the study Rosalind Breslow noted that heavy drinking can cause a plethora of health problems for women.

Past research showed that women are not metabolizing alcohol as fast as men do. This is why the general recommendation is one alcoholic drink for women and two for men. Men can drink twice as much because their biology allows it.

Men’s stomachs have more of an enzyme that helps them break down alcohol faster than women. This is why, only half of the alcohol they consume makes it to their bloodstreams. As a result, men don’t feel the effects of alcohol consumption as fast as women do.

Furthermore, men weigh more and their bodies are less packed with fat than women’s. Men’s bodies also have more water which enables them to drink more alcohol without the negative effects.

This is why a woman and a man of the same weight cannot compete in a drinking competition. The woman’s concentration of alcohol in her blood will go up twice as fast as the man’s. So, she is more prone to develop health problems following abuse.

The Study

For the research, scientists analyzed data on over 65,000 women and men aged 60 or older. Of these 6,500 men and nearly 1,700 women were alcoholics.

Breslow and her colleagues pointed out that older people can harm themselves more easily if they abuse alcohol than younger people. Researchers explained that in the old age, the body becomes more sensitive to the effects of the alcohol. Older men and women are more prone to fall or injure themselves after they drink too much alcohol.

Study authors expect the number of older women and men who binge drink to rise in the future. They cannot tell why so many older women tend to drink more. They have a theory, though: baby boomers were heavy drinkers in their youth and they must have returned to their habit in old age.

The findings were revently published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
Image Source: Daily Mail

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