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How are you today? I am sweltering, but not complaining. I am loving the sunshine and light evenings. Are you planning a cheeky bottle of vino in the garden later after work?
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I don't know about you but when I hear people discussing heavy drinking I always think of young men and women , absolutely arseholed plastered in a small town on a Saturday night. I see blue lights flashing as the police endeavour to keep everyone safe and there are always men walking around without their shirts on and women flashing their undies, shouting abuse at each other.
 Then, the other day I saw a brief headline alluding to the the fact that the real group of drinkers who are of concern are us women who are over 50 and referred to rather cheekily as "older drinkers"! How rude! But, I thought I'd better check out if this was true as after all it affects us if it is and we may not want to be invisible but we want to be visible for all the right reasons! 

What I found was pretty disturbing! It seems that as women get older they are at greater risk of alcohol related harm, ( use of alcohol that can cause physiological, psychological or social harm), and the numbers of older women being harmed is increasing, whilst in younger women, consumption and harm is decreasing! Alcohol related hospital admissions are substantially higher in our age group than in younger people too. Scarily, the highest rate of alcohol related deaths is in the 55 to 74 year old age group. Bloody hell! 

It seems as though there are many causes for this ongoing increase in us so called oldies. Amongst them are:
* retirement  *bereavement *loss of sense of purpose *less opportunities to socialise *often an increase in expendable income. These identified causes are clearly age related. 
Of course there are other additional reasons including the fact that the stigma of women drinking is long past. I also know of people who think that because they drink expensive wine they can't possibly have a problem! 

Not getting help also appears to be a problem because of:
* stigma - 55% of over 65s believe that alcohol issues are a persons own fault! Let me tell you, its not and anyone with problems deserves and is is entitled to the help they need.
* public policy is not helpful to older woman as campaigns are uasually aimed at younger people.The link with increased age and alcohol related harm seems to have been well and truly missed. I think this is something we need to be very aware of and where poss. campaign for change.

Although alcohol issues are an equal opportunities disease the way women are affected is very different to how men are. Men tend to drink more than us but we tend to get affected far more and the effects for us are accelerated.Typical!

So.… are the top reasons to curb our drinking to stay healthy.
1. It can contribute to early menopause as well as menstrual and fertility difficulties,
2. Hot flushes increase significantly in intensity and frequency. If for no other reason it's probably really useful to monitor how it affects hot flushes so that we have better control of them,
3. We are more prone to alcohol related brain damage including shrinking brain, memory loss and difficulties learning, (as if the menopause doesn't already turn our brains into mush!),
4. It increases our risk of breast cancer. Women who drink 2 to 5 units a day are 41%  more likely to develop this awful disease! I find that staggering!
5. Heavy drinking in women is the leading cause of cardio vascular disease,
6. Alcoholism is linked to dementia, with, of course, us women being at greater risk,
7. Ageing makes it harder for our bodies to adapt to drinking alcohol. This means we may have undiagnosed conditions that are attributed to age rather than drinking. We may have not increased our drinking over the years but age makes it more dangerous for our health,
8. The risk of osteoporosis and pancreatitis increases. Osteoporosis is already a worry for women over 50 so we do need to e very aware of this.
9. We are more likely to become victims of domestic violence or sexual assault.
10. Perimenopause is often a trigger as our hormones change to increased consumption of alcohol. We need to be aware of this and watch out for our girlfriends too.

That's quite some list isn't it? I'm not trying to tell any one of you how much to drink or not. I have written this because it truly shocked me. I always think that knowledge is power. We are all adults and have to make our own choices. Many people enjoy a cheeky G and T or whatever tickles your taste buds and they do it safely. Unfortunately, when we look for advice about how much is safe etc it can be quite confusing. Apparently 74% of people over 50 don't really understand the Government's guidelines. I have added a couple of tables below for reference. I do hope they help to clarify.

It is recommended that women have 2 to 3 units a day max with 2 alcohol free days.

Risk and Intake. (State of the Nation)

2-3 units = LOW RISK
2-5 units = INCREASED RISK
6 units plus =HIGH RISK

What is a unit of alcohol? Be aware that many pubs now serve spirits in 35 and 50 ml shots.
To find out more take a look at the .Drink Aware Website or contact your GP.

If you have enjoyed today's article or found it useful, please, please feel free to share it. I'm working hard here to support women over 50 and really want to get the Savvy 'n' Sassy message out into the world.
Over on Facebook we have a supportive and private group for women over 45! Do come and join will love it! 

There are so many more articles covering all sorts of subjects that affect us women over on the blog. Find out more here!

In the meantime.....have a fabulous evening, look after your precious self and feel free to leave a comment below or over on the Savvy 'n' Sassy Facebook Page!

Janie S xxx


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