Study: Older Americans are drinking more

Americans age 60 and over are drinking more than they did 20 years ago.

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(CNN) – A new survey finds that regular use of alcohol among older populations has risen in the past 20 years.

Americans age 60 and over are drinking more than they did 20 years ago. That’s according to a study published recently in the journal “alcoholism.”

Researchers analyzed more than 145 thousand responses to the national health interview survey submitted between 1997 and 2014.

The data showed a steady increase in the number of older adults who consumed alcohol. More men than women reported drinking regularly, but the largest percentage increases were seen in the female population.

Twenty years ago, 54 percent of older men said they were current drinkers compared to nearly 60 percent in 2014, a six percent increase.

But the number of older women who drank regularly rose from nearly 38 percent in 1997 to over 47 percent in the same time period, a nine percent increase.

This is significant because the body’s ability to metabolize alcohol changes as we age. Medications taken frequently by aging adults can also interact with alcohol.

Even standard prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can have dangerous results if mixed with alcohol.

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