Excessive alcohol consumption is not safe for a person at any age, but it is particularly dangerous for older adults.
And according to a study published this week, about one in 10 older adults is considered a binge drinker.
“Binge drinking, even episodically or infrequently, may negatively affect other health conditions by exacerbating disease, interacting with prescribed medications and complicating disease management,” said Dr. Benjamin Han, the lead author of the study that was published on Wednesday in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Alcohol is also a risk factor for injury, Dr. Han said, but the consequences and recovery from a fall are much more serious for an 81-year-old than a 21-year-old.
The study defined binge drinking as consuming five or more drinks in a sitting for men, and four or more drinks in a sitting for women. And a drink equalled a can or bottle of beer, a glass of wine or a wine cooler, a shot of liquor, or a mixed drink with liquor in it.
Dr. Han’s group analysed data from the annual U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2015 and 2017. In all, the findings included 10,927 adults aged 65 or older who reported their drinking habits in the previous 30 days.
The group did not include adults living in long-term-care facilities or nursing homes, Dr. Han added.
The prevalence of binge drinking among adults 65 and older is still relatively low compared with other age groups, Dr. Han said. Over 38 percent of college-aged adults, 18 to 25, had recently drunk excessively, the highest prevalence of any age group.
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