Many people in this world have one main fear: aging. They don’t want to get older, nor do they want to look or feel older. The problem is there are millions of people abusing alcohol. They may have started drinking socially and ended up with an addiction to alcohol. Ever since they started drinking, maybe they felt they needed it to get by. There are far too many reasons why someone might abuse alcohol. The truth is alcohol abuse is dangerous for the user’s life in many ways. It may seem unlikely, but it even has effects on aging in the following ways:

Reaction Time

As you get older, your reaction time, as well as your motor abilities, are going to slow down. In addition, as you get older, your muscle and fat ratio changes. You develop a higher fat ratio than muscle, even if your weight stays the same. Hormonal changes often cause this. Those changes also increase sensitivity to alcohol. You could have a higher BAC even when you are drinking as much alcohol as you did before. Higher BAC means reduced reaction times, even more than the average for your age.

Risk of Falling

Becoming intoxicated increases your risk of falling. It also increases the risk of car crashes and fractures as well. The older you get, the more difficult stability and balance are. Adding alcohol to the mix makes stability and balance that much more difficult. Since alcohol reduces the brain’s activity and response time, your judgment, coordination, and alertness decrease. As you age, the injuries sustained during a fall could be worse.  Your recovery time could end up being longer as well.

Skin Health

What is the number one fear many people have about aging? It is the change in their skin. It looks older. The truth is alcohol abuse speeds up the aging process. It creates dryness, puffiness, reddened cheeks, and wrinkles far earlier in your life than if you weren’t abusing alcohol. The heavier you drink, the faster you will age. Many heavy drinkers look about 10 to 20 years older than they really are. Alcohol causes the body to dehydrate. If you drink heavily or even for a long period of time, the whites of your eyes and your skin may become yellow due to liver disease.

Heart Issues

Yes, some people will say there are studies that show red wine is good for your heart in moderation. However, abstaining from drinking is the best for all overall health. Also, the benefits to the heart are not entirely proven, so it is best to avoid drinking. In addition, when you drink a lot of alcohol, your risk of developing heart issues such as high blood pressure and irregular heart rhythms worsen. Don’t take the risk. If you can’t stop drinking on your own, get help. The older you get, the more likely heart issues are to be serious on your body, since your body weakens as you age.

Liver Issues

Alcohol abuse increases your risk for developing liver cancer and cirrhosis. Some people who are even moderate drinkers can develop liver function issues as a result of drinking. As you age, your liver isn’t able to break down or even metabolize the alcohol as fast. This means the alcohol is in your body for a longer time frame. Even if you have one drink a day, you are negatively impacting your liver. It is important to know how fatal some liver issues can be, so avoid alcohol at all costs, if you want to protect your liver and your life.

Worsened Medical Issues

Many people develop chronic health issues as they get older. Research shows that alcohol consumption can reduce blood sugar to dangerous levels. It can cause hypoglycemia as well. People who have diabetes may not eat as they should if they are under the influence of alcohol. In addition, since drinking increased blood pressure for a bit, binge drinking repeatedly, can cause hypertension. Drinking heavily has also shown to raise the risk of getting ulcers. Continued drinking would prevent those ulcers from proper healing.

Medication Interactions

While people of all ages may be taking medications for a range of reasons, elders often have more regular medications to take. It is essential to know that most OTC drugs and prescription drugs would be negatively impacted by alcohol consumption. Mixing medications with alcohol might reduce the effects of the medication. As you age, your liver stops working as well too, so the medication takes longer to be broken down. Drinking can increase side effects of the medications, making them even harder on your body.

Brain Volume Shrinkage

Research has shown that having a history of alcohol abuse does increase the dementia risk. Long-term, heavy drinking will speed up brain shrinkage. This shrinkage is the main factor in declining cognitive functioning and memory. Yes, people naturally start to become more forgetful as they age, but alcohol speeds up that process. Alcohol induced dementia causes agitation, muscle coordination issues, and mental disruptions.

Eye Health Issues

As you get older, you are likely to have a more difficult time seeing well. However, alcohol abuse, makes things even worse. When you drink heavily, your eyes become bloodshot. After some time of repeated heavy drinking, nutrients are taken out of your body, that are needed for optimal eye health. WIthout these nutrients, you could develop impaired eyesight.

Losing Hair

As your body become dehydrated from ongoing alcohol abuse, your hair is affected. The alcohol dehydrates your body and that includes your hair. Your hair becomes dry, weak, and brittle. You develop split ends and dull-looking hair. In addition, alcohol abuse drains zinc from your body. A zinc deficiency is one of the main reasons for hair loss.

If you want to stop speeding up the aging process, you must get help to treat your alcohol abuse disorder.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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