The Biggest ever study of its kind has revealed attitudes towards alcohol and ageing which could be leaving over 50s at increased risk of harm from alcohol.
Drink Wise Age Well www.drinkwiseagewell.org.uk has recently published a report on older peoples’ drinking habits and among other findings the report reveals a hidden population of over 50s at increasing risk from their drinking.
For those who have been bought up in a culture of social drinking it is difficult to identify what is too much. With conflicting reports of the benefits and harm of wine and the changing of safe limits announced by health experts it is all seems very confusing. Should we be measuring our glass before enjoying a drink, or checking the alcoholic strength of our chosen tipple? To me the more important issue is:
Alcohol with medication
Adults aged over 65 take an average of 7-10 medications each day. People can be prescribed medication for all different reasons e.g. for high blood pressure, water retention, high cholesterol. Drugs are also used to treat anxiety and depression, as well as other mental health concerns.
As we age our metabolism and the ability of our liver to process medications can slow down so it is very important that we carefully consider how alcohol can affect some medications.
Below lists some common types of medicines and explains some of the possible risks of mixing them with alcohol. The interaction of alcohol and medicines can be unpredictable.
Painkillers e.g. paracetamol
Paracetamol and alcohol are both broken down by the liver, therefore your liver has to work harder if you take them together. Never take more than the recommended dose of paracetamol.
Anti-inflammatory drugs e.g. ibuprofen, aspirin
These medicines can irritate the stomach, the same as alcohol and people who drink on a regular basis are more likely to suffer from heartburn and stomach ulcers. These drugs can also thin the blood therefore increasing the risk of bleeding.
Blood thinning medicines e.g. warfarin
Pay particular attention to your daily units. It is dangerous to drink over the recommended limits or get drunk while taking warfarin. Doing this may increase the risk of bleeding
Stomach healing medicines e.g. omeprazole, lansoprazole, ranitidine
People who drink regularly are more likely to suffer from heartburn and stomach ulcers. As alcohol irritates the stomach lining, drinking it will reduce the effectiveness of these medicines
While we do need to be aware of the effects of drinking the pressures by the medical profession to curb our pleasures can often do more harm than good.
A sensible attitude to lifestyles can do more for our wellbeing than constant nagging about what is bad for us. Well that’s my opinion: Cheers!