Beyond The Binge

Babe Ruth was known as the "Sultan of Swat" for his outstanding play on the baseball field. In 1924 he led the league with a .378 batting average and 46 home runs! But his off-field drinking turned him into the Baron of Binge, and in 1925 it caused him to miss part of spring training and 56 games.

A study found that binge drinking - downing five or more drinks at a time (guys) or four or more (gals) - isn't confined to superstars. Seems 10% of Americans 65-plus are bingeing. The research, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, looked at the habits of 10,927 seniors and found that such marathon drinking sessions are a growing problem. What's more, bingers are frequently combining alcohol with cannabis.

Risky business: When older folks take a hit of alcohol (plus pot) they're more likely to fall and break bones. (Binge-drinking elders end up in the emergency room more often than non-bingeing peers.) In addition, the research found the most common chronic diseases among older binge drinkers were high blood pressure (41.4%), cardiovascular disease (23.1%) and diabetes (17.7%), and that alcohol can make it hard to manage those conditions. Plus, when it mixes with meds for those disorders - yikes!

So if you or someone you know are binge drinking, ask yourself: Is it to overcome social anxiety? Because of alcohol dependence? To manage chronic pain? Look for support groups that can help you find healthier solutions, and swat that problem out of your park.

© 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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