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One in 10 older adults binge drinks, increasing health risks



About 1 in 10 older adults engaging in binge drinking, putting them at greater risk for falls and other medical problems.

That's according to a new study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

"We the focus is much on young people and their risky drinking, "said senior author Joseph Palamar, an associate professor in the department of population health at NYU Langone Health. "But this research reminds us that we also have an eye on the older population."

Palamar and colleagues analyzed data on 1

0,927 people over the age of 65 who analyzed the National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2015 and 2017.

An estimated 10.6 percent of participants reported binge drinking – defined as five or more drinks at one time for men, and four or more for women – within the previous 30 days, the study found.

"A lot of patients don't realize that as they get older, their body becomes more sensitive to alcohol, "said lead study author Dr. Benjamin Han, Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine's Division of Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Care at NYU Langone Health. "They still think they can drink the same way, but the risks increase quite a bit."

Indeed, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends that people over age 65 who are otherwise healthy with no chronic diseases, limit

However, according to the National Council on Aging, 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke or diabetes.

Drinking can worsen some chronic diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes, according to experts.

"If you drink regularly and you are taking blood thinners, then there is a risk of bleeding in your stomach," explained Dr. Ronan Factora, a geriatrician at the Cleveland Clinic who was not involved in the new research. "Binge drinking can also make your sugars go up, which can create problems for people with diabetes."

It can also lead to other issues, such as forgetting to take medications.

"A lot of patients are on six , seven or more medications, "Han said. "When they binge drink, they often don't remember to take their medicines."


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