BRAIN damage, red skin and an increased risk of stroke – this is what boozing when you’re over 40 looks like, The Sun reports. A recent survey found 28 per cent of women over 45 drink more than their adult kids, while those over 65 are most likely to relax with a drink five days in a row.
Getting up close and personal with the two-day hangover is the least of drinkers’ problems though, as the full effects of alcohol on the over 40s has been revealed. We’re naturally more dehydrated as we age which means booze isn’t broken down as quickly.
Dr Tony Rao, consultant old age psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, explained: “The organs that metabolise alcohol such as the liver and the stomach shrink as you get older, so alcohol stays in your system longer.”
Anyone who’s had one too many will know that dreaded morning-after-the-night-before feeling. There’s a scientific reason for it, because booze supresses controlling behaviour like planning and judgement.
So after a few glasses of wine telling your boss what you think of them sounds great, but the next day – not so much. Even worse, as we age this can cause issues with depression and anxiety.
According to Dr Rao, the brain is the first place to show the impact of heavy drinking – even including the liver. Moodiness and the inability to make decisions can all be signs, but damage can be reversed by ditching the bottle for six months.
Alcohol raises blood pressure, meaning people who regularly drink more than they should are more at risk of heart attack and stroke. Unfortunately for many, ‘more’ means over the recommended three to four unit for men or two to three for women. That translates to a pint of strong beer for guys, and a standard 175 ml. glass of wine for ladies.
In extreme cases booze can also stop blood pumping properly, leading to heart failure. Most of us know this is the organ which takes the biggest pummelling when we drink, but it’s not only big sessions which affect it.
Heavy drinking over the age of 40 can cause scar tissue on the liver and make it shrink, which means cirrhosis.