The ‘wine o’clock’ habit has begun to take a deadly toll on the baby- boomer generation, figures reveal. They show the likelihood of a British woman in her 60s dying from drink is up a third.
New evidence is bringing light to the lethal effects of long-term drinking in women.
Middle-aged women may need to take a long, hard look at their drinking habits, as new numbers show an alarming trend in alcohol-related deaths.
A new report published this month by Public Health England found that death rates for alcohol-related illnesses are highest, and rising, among Baby Boomers.
The report suggests that Boomers of both sexes experience high mortality rates due to alcohol, but the results also revealed a surprising difference between men and women.
Although the morbidity rates are higher among men in their late 50s and 60s, the real shocker was that the female increase was 35%, compared to men’s 25%, between 2001 and 2016.
For women in their late 50s, the chances of dying from drink rose by 30%. In men of the same age group, the rates fell.
Among all age groups, between the years 2014 and 2016, alcohol-related deaths among women shot up by 2.4%, while for men, the rates increased by only 1.9%.
The consequences of the misuse of alcohol
The Office of National Statistics noted that the disturbing pattern “may be a consequence of the misuse of alcohol that began several years, or even decades, previously.”
According to alcohol addiction specialist Dr. Niall Campbell, more women in this generation may be self-medicating with alcohol due to the pressures of modern life at their age. Drinking may help Boomer women to relax after a long day, of “looking after aging parents, and debt-ridden adult children who have returned to the family home, while all the time holding down an exhausting paid job.”
At the same time, another study out of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston recently found that chronic alcohol consumption destroys new stem cells generated in the brain stem, slowing the production of new nerve cells.
Day after day, the alcohol chipped away at the subventricular zone of the brain, which is responsible for creating new brain cells.
The study, which was carried out in adult mice, also revealed a more severe impact from alcoholic intake on female mice than on males. The female mice, when drunk, also exhibited more extreme behaviors when compared to the males.
Drink safely, always in moderation
According to the CDC, individual reactions to alcohol can vary wildly and is dependent upon many factors, including age, sex, race and ethnicity, physical fitness, food intake, the rate at which drinks are consumed, drugs including prescription meds, and family history of alcohol problems.
One “drink” is equivalent to 14 grams of pure ethanol, which roughly translates to:
- 5oz wine (12% alcohol content)
- 12oz beer (5% alcohol content)
- 5oz liquor or spirits (40% alcohol content)
The persistent myth that wine is “safer” to drink than beer or liquor is simply not true. It’s the alcoholic content itself that is harmful. Healthwise, a glass of wine is no different than a shot of whiskey or a can of beer.
The key to drinking safely is moderation. The CDC defines moderation as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. And no, you can’t binge on the weekends and average everything out for the week – the definition explicitly states that it is meant as an average amount that can be consumed on a single day.
If you are concerned about your drinking habits, you might want to have a frank discussion with your doctor. You may not be physically dependent upon alcohol, but if drinking negatively impacts your life or your health, you may have a drinking problem. Help is available. Let me know what you think! Thaïs
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