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GHWWinJ ROd can be a dilemma. We learn that a daily glass of red wine or even a bottle of beer or a shot of liquor might be good for the heart. However, before you rush off to the liquor store it might be wise to know if that alcoholic beverage might make you fall down the steps, break a hip and possibly die from complications. Who should not have the alcoholic drink? A healthy heart does you no good when you’re carried into the cemetery.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more WKDn RnH-WKiUd RI DduOWs DJHd 65 and older fall a year. And, among older people who fall, the leading causes of death that are related to injury result from falls. Of those people who fall and break a hip, a fourth of them will die within a year of the fall.
Older people often have balDnFH SUREOHPs, diIfiFuOWy sOHHSing, emotions of depression and an increased frequency of falling. As they age, they develop poor eyesiJKW, sORwHU UHflHxHs Dnd ERnHs that break more easily than the bones of younger people. The unanswered question is whether adding a drink of alcohol a day might worsen these problems. In a study RI ROdHU APHUiFDns in 2008, 35.8 million adults reported an episode of dizziness in the past year. No one wants to have a strong heart and poor balance. Fortunately, fewer than 10 percent of falls result in a broken bone.
There is some guidance for those seniors hoping to drink themselves to sleep because cardiologists respect our livers. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — a branch of the National Institute of Health — recommends that the addition of alcohol on a regular basis should only be done by people who are in good health. Of those people wKR DUH RYHU DJH 65, WKHy sKRuOd have no more than seven drinks a week and no more than three drinks in any one day.
When the subject of alcohol and seniors is brought up, most peo- ple like to think of France, where drinking alcohol is part of life. The per capita alcohol consumption of )UDnFH dRHs OHDd WKH wRUOd, GHUmany is second, Australia is third and the United Kingdom is fourth. People in all of these countries drink more alcohol than people in the United States. However, even in this country, alcohol abuse kills approxiPDWHOy 75,000 SHRSOH D yHDU.
According to the CDC, estimates revealed more than 34,000 people died in the United States in 2001 from cirrhosis of the liver and other diseases related to drinking. Another 40,000 died from car crashes related to alcohol. It must be mentioned that the largest age group that drinks alcohol was 12WK-JUDdHUs. AFWuDOOy, WKH 65 Dnd older group consumed less alcohol than younger people. White people consume more alcohol than blacks and Asians.
By dHfiniWiRn D IUHTuHnW KHDYy drinker is a person who drinks at OHDsW RnFH D wHHN Dnd dUinNs fiYH or more drinks at one sitting.
Even one drink might damage a fetus of a pregnant woman.
The greatest quantities of alcohol consumed by Americans durinJ WKH SDsW 50 yHDUs wDs EHHU.
If a person has a problem with balance, he or she should ask the physician whether a daily drink is recommended. Drinking alcoholic beverages might aggravate the problem.
Dr. Milton Friedman can be reached at email@example.com.