Addiction

09 June 2017

Excess alcohol may speed muscle loss in older women

A study found that after menopause, frequent drinkers had four times the risk of sarcopenia.

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Excessive drinking can have harmful effects on memory, attention and learning.

Also, heavy drinking may hasten muscle loss in older women, according to a new study.

The study was published online in Menopause, a NAMS journal, and the researchers were from Yonsei University College of Medicine, in Seoul.

Muscle loss starts in midlife

Both ageing and menopause can lead to loss of muscle mass and strength, a condition called sarcopenia, which is the decrease of lean muscle mass.

Muscle mass loss typically starts in midlife, and progresses at a rate of 6% per decade, the researchers said. Usually, only three-quarters of midlife muscle mass remains after the age of 80.

This loss of muscle affects balance, gait and the ability to do daily tasks, the researchers said.

By 2030 the number of people in the world 60 or older is estimated to grow by 56%, and older people will number one in six individuals globally, according to the South Korean researchers.

Frequent and significant alcohol use

Their study looked at nearly 2 400 postmenopausal women with an average age of 62. Of those, 8% had sarcopenia. Rates of sarcopenia were nearly four times higher among high-risk drinkers than among low-risk drinkers, the study found.

High-risk drinking was defined as frequent and significant alcohol use, along with a lack of control over drinking, blackouts and injuries related to drinking.

Other related effects of significant drinking include; damage to liver cells which could result in organ failure, irregular heart rhythms such as arrhythmia, and fluid buildup in the feet as a result of liver damage, according to Health24.

Women in the high-risk group were more likely to smoke and have higher blood pressure and total cholesterol. They were also significantly younger.

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