THURSDAY, June 10, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Alcohol consumption rises among older Americans amid worst COVID-19 pandemic pandemic pandemic, and it could put their health at risk, claim the researchers behind a new survey.
“As we all toast the end of the worst part of the pandemic in our country, it is important to address or stop problematic drinking of all kinds,” said one surveyor, Anne Fernandez, a University of Michigan psychologist who specializes in the study. are said. alcohol use.
More than 2,000 adults aged 50 to 80 were questioned at the end of January, when COVID-19 case rates were high nationwide and vaccination of older adults had just begun.
About 14% of respondents who drink alcohol said their drinking has increased during the first 10 months of the pandemic.
But the rate was much higher among minorities, who said they drank alcohol as part of their daily routine, to improve or relax their mood, or to deal with boredom. Tension or painAccording to the university’s national survey on healthy aging.
A third to half of those adults said they drank more alcohol in the past year. Those who reported feeling isolated or lonely were also more likely to report an increase in drinking.
Half of the respondents said they drink primarily for social reasons, and were more likely to say that their drinking decreased in 2020. This suggests that as the epidemic subsides, their drinking may increase, the survey authors said.
Overall, 23% of respondents who drink alcohol said they regularly drank three or more drinks in one sitting, and 10% said they used other drugs while drinking, including: Marijuana or prescription drugs that can have harmful effects with alcohol.
regularly drinking three or more alcoholic drinks on any given day, and occasionally binge drinking, both are considered signs of problematic drinking in any adult, the researchers noted.
“Even before the pandemic, heavier and more risky drinking habits were increasing at a faster rate among older adults than among younger adults,” Fernandez said in a university news release.
“Every older adult who drank more alcohol during the past year may have gone from non-alcoholic to risky drinking, but the overall level of drinking, and the potential for interactions with other substances, is very concerning,” he said.
The body’s ability to process alcohol increases with age, explained Poll Director Dr. Preeti Malani, a Michigan Medicine infectious disease physician also trained in geriatrics.
The amount of alcohol that older adults used to consume may now affect them differently, resulting in balance problems that can lead to falls and other injuries. In addition, drinking alcohol over a long period of time can lead to age-related sedation. immune system fall and Memory loss.
“We are especially concerned when older adults are drinking multiple drinks in one sitting, so 20% of older men said they drink three to four alcoholic drinks in a typical day of drinking,” Malani said.
“And 27% of drinkers said that at least once in the past year, they had had six or more drinks – a ‘binge’ level of alcohol consumption that is risky at any age, But more than that we age,” Malani said.
More about the US National Institute on Aging old age and alcohol.
Source: University of Michigan, news release, June 9, 2021