5 Surprising Ways Alcohol Accelerates Aging

The effects of alcohol on your body may worsen as you age and accelerate the aging process, even if you don’t increase your alcohol intake.

Our bodies experience many physiological changes as we age. For one, the volume of total body water severely drops. As a result, drinking small amounts of alcohol may lead to higher blood alcohol concentrations (BAC).

Secondly, liver function declines, which slows down the elimination of alcohol from your body.

Luckily, reports show that people tend to reduce their alcohol intake as they age, because hangovers get worse. However, some maintain heavy drinking habits in their 60s, 70s, and beyond.

Heavy drinking, especially as you get older, accelerates the aging process in several ways.

1. Alcohol May Shrink Your Brain Faster

Our brains inevitably shrink, as we grow older. Fortunately, you can dramatically slow down this process through healthy habits, such as meditation. Poor habits, on the other hand, can massively reduce your brain volume and lead to a decline in brain function and memory.

According to this study, heavy drinking accelerates brain shrinkage among social drinkers, but moderate drinking doesn’t seem to have any effect on the brain. Drinking heavily for many years can also lead to alcoholic dementia, a condition characterized by a lack of sensitivity to other people’s feelings, difficulty controlling emotions, and problems with decision-making.

2. Alcohol May Worsen the Effects of Sun Exposure

Did you know that the effects of exposure to solar radiation increase, as we age? Well, that’s not all. Heavy drinking can worsen this effect further.

In this study, frequent alcohol consumption was associated with higher photodamage scores. In short, sun exposure may do more damage on the skin of a heavy drinker compared to a non-drinker.

3. Alcohol May Add Wrinkles to Your Face

Dehydration is one of the well-known effects of drinking. But have you ever thought of the effect regular dehydration has on your skin?

If you’re dehydrated all the time, the skin wrinkles quickly. And the wrinkles grow deeper quickly.

I may also note that long-term drinking lowers vitamin A levels in your liver. As you may know, vitamin A plays a vital role in keeping your skin firm and youthful.

4. Alcohol May Lead to Poor Vision

Many drinkers don’t realize that their sight and hearing diminish after only two drinks. Luckily, this effect is not long-lasting.

However, excessive alcohol consumption can cause chronic damage to your eyes. As I mentioned, heavy drinking weakens your liver, which consequently leads to a buildup of toxins in different parts of you body. If the toxins affect your optic nerve, you may have vision problems.

Studies have also linked excessive drinking to increased risk of cataracts.

5. Alcohol May Increase Your Risk of Falls

We all know that seniors have a higher risk of falls and fractures. Alcohol heightens that risk because of the low alcohol tolerance seniors have.

Other than avoiding excessive drinking, do exercises that improve balance and coordination to prevent falls.

Reduce your alcohol intake to prevent premature aging. A moderate intake of one glass day shouldn’t do any harm.

Photo via Getty Images

51 comments

Hannah A
Hannah A12 hours ago

thanks for sharing

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Christophe B

Thank you.

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Leopold Marek
Leopold Marek2 days ago

Tyfs

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Leopold Marek
Leopold Marek2 days ago

Tyfs

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Mary B
Mary B2 days ago

Ann B, OF COURSE they can be both be right. Surely you don't think there is just ONE reality.People are all different, lots of varieties of alcahal, lots of levels of health and age and body weight. Your trying to confine REALITY to YOUR level of understanding, instead of of grasping how vast it is.

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Lesa DiIorio
Lesa D3 days ago

thank you Brian...

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Jan S
Jan S3 days ago

TYFS

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Danuta W
Danuta W3 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Toni W
Toni W3 days ago

TYFS

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Toni W
Toni W3 days ago

TYFS

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