Regular alcohol use may harm those over 60 with health issues, prescription meds, research shows
WEDNESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Although one to two alcoholic drinks a day is often considered safe or possibly even beneficial for health, this habit may put many older adults at risk, a new study has found.
Older adults are considered "at risk" if they have at least one of the following drinking behaviors: they consume more than two drinks a day; they consume one to two drinks on most days and have certain health problems, such as gout, hepatitis or nausea; they consume one or two drinks on most days and take certain medications, such as antidepressants or sedatives.
University of California, Los Angeles researchers analyzed data from more than 3,300 patients aged 60 and older who went to primary care clinics near Santa Barbara, Calif., and found that:
The study was published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
"In summary, even among our relatively advantaged study patients, as many as one in three who continued to consume alcohol into older adulthood were at risk of harm from drinking," lead study author Andrew Barnes, a researcher in the UCLA School of Public Health's department of health services, and colleagues wrote.
"Physicians may be less aware of other alcohol-related risk factors common among the elderly (e.g., interactions with select medications and comorbidities) than the risks associated with heavy drinking," they concluded.
The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about aging and alcohol.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: University of California, Los Angeles, news release, April 2010
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