Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Beer, as WE age

There's yet another report that alcohol may be good in small or moderate amounts, but bad in greater amounts.

Jane Brody in the New York Times summarized this new report at her Personal Health column. What differentiates it from other similar reports is that it is specifically directed at Baby Boomers, as they pass 65. Much of her article draws on a study published in the October issue of The Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

The bad:

Doctors may also fail to recognize the symptoms of alcohol abuse, a problem that is expected to become increasingly common as baby boomers, who have been found to drink more than previous generations [emphasis mine], reach age 65 and beyond.

Personal Health
Query for Aging Patients: How Much Do You Drink?
December 15, 2008

The good:
At the same time, older people who are in good health should know that moderate drinking under the right conditions may improve their health in several important ways.

The study's authors note that "moderate" alcohol consumption may ward off:
  • Heart disease and mortality
  • Diabetes
  • Dementia
  • Osteoporosis
and that it may have salubrious psychosocial and nutritional effects.

The risks of excessive alcohol consumption that Ms. Brody mentions are common sense:
Immoderate consumption of alcohol — more than three drinks a day — can be hazardous for people of all ages, but it is especially so for the elderly, who reach higher levels of blood alcohol faster and maintain them longer than younger people.

Potential hazards include an increased risk of falls and vehicular accidents, a decline in short-term memory, a worsening of existing health problems, and interactions with medications that may diminish the effectiveness of some drugs and increase the toxic effects of others.

I have a (very) short list of links to articles on beer and health at my website: Good Beer & Good Health?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment here ...