Having a drink now and then as you get older is not usually thought to be harmful, but alcohol can be a problem for older adults, especially if they take certain medications, have health problems or don’t control their drinking. Alcohol Use and Older Adults, http://nihseniorhealth.gov/alcoholuse/toc.html, the newest topic on NIHSeniorHealth, provides helpful information about the effect alcohol may have on our bodies, health and lifestyles as we age. NIHSeniorHealth is the premier health and wellness website for older adults. It was developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), both parts of the National Institutes of Health.
Aging lowers the body’s tolerance for alcohol, and older adults can develop problems with alcohol even though their drinking habits haven’t changed. “Older adults can experience the effects of alcohol, such as slurred speech and lack of coordination, more quickly than when they were younger,” says Kenneth R. Warren, Ph.D., acting director of the NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), which developed the topic. “If you’re older and you drink, it is important to understand the implications this may have for your health, safety, relationships and lifestyle. The newest topic on NIHSeniorHealth provides an excellent overview of these issues in a format that is tailored for older adults.”
Besides information on alcohol and aging, the new topic on NIHSeniorHealth also discusses how much is safe to drink for most older men and women, what precautions to take if they’re on medication and how to get help if drinking is a problem.
Older Americans are increasingly turning to the Internet for health information. In fact, more than 70 percent of online seniors look for health and medical information when they go on the Web. NIHSeniorHealth (www.nihseniorhealth.gov), which is based on the latest research on cognition and aging, features short, easy-to-read segments of information that can be accessed in a number of formats, including various large-print type sizes, open-captioned videos and an audio version. Additional topics coming soon to the site include long-term care, anxiety disorders and peripheral arterial disease.
The NLM is the world's largest library of the health sciences and collects, organizes and makes available biomedical science information to scientists, health professionals and the public. For more information, visit the website at www.nlm.nih.gov.
The NIAAA is the primary U.S. agency for conducting and supporting research on the causes, consequences, prevention and treatment of alcohol abuse, alcoholism and alcohol problems. For more information, visit the website at www.niaaa.nih.gov
The NIA leads the federal effort supporting and conducting research on aging and the medical, social and behavioral issues of older people. For more information on research and aging, go to www.nia.nih.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH)—The Nation's Medical Research Agency—includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.