What do you say when someone asks you how much alcohol you drink?
a. Minimal, b. Moderate, C. Excessive
38 million adults in the United States drink too much alcohol yet only one out of six patients talks honestly to his or her healthcare provider about how much alcohol he or she truly consumes.
In my research, I have discovered that the responses vary. Some people consider 2 glasses of wine per night “moderate” whereas others think 1 glass per week is moderate. Moreover, the size of the glass matters too. How full is the glass and do you finish it all.
I follow a “No judging” policy. But I intervene when needed. Showing that you care is different than judging.
According to National Institutes of Health “Moderate” drinking is defined as follows:
Men — no more than two drinks per day
Women — no more than one drink per day
Over 65 — no more than one drink per day
A standard drink is one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits
Alcohol has risks and benefits. If you are a man over 45 or a post-menopausal woman, light to moderate drinking can be beneficial for the heart. But since alcohol related problems cannot be predicted, it is not a good idea for infrequent or nondrinkers to start drinking to reduce the risk of heart disease. Similar benefits can be achieved through proper nutrition and exercise and by taking the right supplements.
You can tell if a person is at risk for alcohol-related problems if he is a man and has greater than 14 drinks per week or more than 4 drinks per occasion.
A woman may have drinking problems if she drinks more than 7 drinks per week or has greater than 3 drinks per occasion.
Now, let’s talk about one of the latest findings about drinking alcohol and post-menopausal women. I am not going to bore you with all the social, economic, and medical consequences. I want to tell you about a condition called Sarcopenia which means “loss of muscle mass”.
In general, the loss of muscle mass begins in middle age and gets worse as we get older. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, inactive lifestyle and bad eating habits can all cause loss of muscles. But there is new evidence about drinking alcohol and muscle mass.
A recent study of 2,372 post-menopausal women was published in June of 2017*. This study showed that moderate and excessive alcohol drinking increased the risk of muscle loss in post-menopausal women.
This finding is extremely important as decreased muscle mass causes decreased muscle strength, which, in turn, increases risk for falls and broken bones, reduces the ability to perform daily activities, and reduces quality of life.
As the world’s older population continues to grow, the effect of muscle loss is becoming a significant public health concern. It is vital to prevent loss of muscles especially in postmenopausal women. To do so, it is important to become physically active, address hormonal deficiencies, avoid smoking, get your blood pressure and cholesterol under control (ask me about Bergamot) and get proper nutrition. And next time, think twice before having a glass of wine. Remember a woman’s drinking is considered moderate if she has 1 drink a day. And when it comes to muscles, even moderate drinking causes reduced muscle mass. As mentioned in my previous detailed blog by Bring On The Magic llc about Bone Health, strong muscles help strengthen your bones.
Today’s pearl: A woman has less water in her body compared to a man. That is why a woman’s blood alcohol concentration is higher than a man’s after drinking the same amount of alcohol