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Does Drinking Alcohol Cause Dementia

How To Prevent Alcohol

Does Alcohol Consumption Cause Dementia?

The probability of health problems connected to alcohol and cognitive disabilities usually starts from casual drinking. Living a certain lifestyle can expose one to alcoholism, and the more drinks a person takes, the closer they are to alcohol-related health problems, irregular eating habits, and disconnection from the family in some cases. Before the downward spiral from alcoholism, one may abandon family and disconnect from friends and other probable sources of help. It is a fact that those who interact with their family, even with their addictions, have a better chance of beating the addiction. Those who seek help or support promptly may scale through the addiction phase.

The best way to prevent alcohol-induced dementia is to completely abstain from drinking, eat a balanced diet for good health, and seek professional help if necessary.

Hope Without Commitment

Is There A Link Between Drinking And Dementia

Weâve heard for a while now that red wine is good for our hearts. In 2002, the London School of Medicineâs Dr. Roger Corder declared: âModerate consumption of red wine is likely to prevent heart disease.â Moreover, in the same year, the prestigious journal The Lancet published a study with the following description: âLight-to-moderate alcohol consumption reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. Because vascular disease is associated with cognitive impairment and dementia, ⦠hypothesized that alcohol consumption might also affect the risk of dementia.â Their finding? âLight-to-moderate drinking was significantly associated with a lower risk of any dementia â¦and vascular dementia⦠.â

The author goes on the speculate that the study ââ¦will also raise questions for moderate drinkers about â¦possible long-term consequencesâ¦â. It is commonplace at these conjunctures to interject the oft-heard lament: More study is needed. Surely this is true. But, letâs consider some of the data that is presently available.

Comparison With Other Studies

We, as with others,7 observed an increased risk of dementia in alcohol abstainers, a finding subject to much debate. As studies usually assess alcohol consumption only once, excess risk might be driven by the inclusion of former drinkers in the same group as abstainers.7 Our analyses using repeat data on alcohol consumption across midlife suggest that former drinking might not explain the excess dementia risk in abstainers, although we cannot exclude the possibility that those who report alcohol abstinence in midlife were heavy drinkers in young adulthood or misreported their alcohol consumption. We accounted for several sociodemographic and health related characteristics in the analysis, but residual confounding cannot be excluded as an explanation for the higher risk of dementia among abstainers. Indeed, this group is particular in that it is composed mainly of women from the lower socioeconomic group with higher prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors and disease at baseline, a pattern that has also been observed in other studies.3537

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What Is The Treatment For Alcohol

According to the treatment guideline for Alcohol-related Dementia, the initial stage requires the patient to abstain from alcohol completely and stabilise their health. It is preferred that patients suffering from Alcohol-related dementia are admitted to the hospital during this stage.

Alcohol withdrawal is a very painful process. The patient usually ends up in delirium. During which, they become increasingly confused and distracted. They also suffer from disorientation and mood swings. The signs in such patients include increased heart rate, increased sweating and general anxiety. Delirious patients also hallucinate sometimes.

During the treatment, the patient is administered a drug that mimics the effect of alcohol on the brain to ease the pain of withdrawal symptoms. The patient is then slowly weaned off from these drugs and they are monitored closely at this time. In a hospital setting the patient is also administered salts, fluids, and high levels of vitamin B1 through IV.

The treatment of Alcohol-related Dementia is not limited to medication, the patient also needs therapeutic support. Namely, counselling or one-on-one therapy that encourages an alcohol-free lifestyle. Furthermore, the patient should join group therapy sessions once they are discharged from the hospital facility.

Iii Should Older People Drink Less Alcohol

Dementia symptoms and alcohol: Drinking can cause ...

Some writers urge that older people drink less alcohol. They think it would protect their bodies and minds. But Dr. Erik Skovenborg disagrees. He says people dont develop low alcohol tolerance when they turn 65. That idea is a myth based on plain ignorance, ageism prejudice and political correctness, mixed with a minuscule amount of facts.28

Fat doesnt absorb alcohol. Older bodies tend to have a lower proportion of water to fat as they age. Thus, the same amount of alcohol would lead to a higher BAC. So some people say older people should drink less.

But from age 20-29 to 70-79, mens total body water drops only 3.2%. The drop for women is even less. The increase in BAC would not be measurable on a Breathalyzer.

Some say older bodies dont break down alcohol as well as younger bodies. However, medical research does not support that belief.

The health and longevity benefits of moderate drinking become greater for older people. It may be more important for older people to drink.

Seniors Dont Drink Enough

Dr. Skovenborgs suggestion may actually be too conservative. The amount of alcohol most older people drink in the U.S. isnt enough to get its health benefits.

A government survey proves this. Only 55% of people aged 50 had even a single alcoholic drink in the previous month. And the proportion declined with increasing age. It dropped to half among those age 60-64. Then to only 40% among those 65 and older.

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Seeking Help For Alcohol Abuse And Addiction

The best way to prevent alcoholic dementia and other health complications related to chronic alcohol abuse is to seek treatment for alcohol addiction. While this decision can be difficult, it can quite literally save your life and improve your overall health and wellbeing. Vertava Health offers a variety of treatment programs catered to helping individuals overcome alcohol use disorders.

To learn more about alcoholic dementia and the alcohol addiction treatment programs we offer, contact an Vertava Health treatment specialist today.

This page does not provide medical advice.

Traditional Rehab May Not Be A Realistic Option

When someone has dementia, voluntarily participating in a traditional rehab program for alcohol addiction is not likely to happen.

When the brain is already damaged by dementia, making good decisions and building new habits and ways of thinking becomes very difficult or impossible.

In some cases, people with dementia may be hospitalized to detox from alcohol and later, moved to a secured memory care community where there is no access to alcohol.

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Alcohol Consumption And Dementia

  • /
  • Alcohol Consumption and Dementia

  • Knowing what factors increase the risk of dementia is important in the battle against the disease. Alcohol consumption is one such factor and a new British Medical Journal study added to the growing body of research into how it can lead to an increased risk of dementia.

    Learn more about the study, which discovered that both those who abstained from drinking alcohol altogether and those who ingested too much alcohol were both at a higher risk of developing dementia.

    How Much Did They Drink

    Alcohol & Alzheimer’s Dementia Risk: Does Moderate Drinking Help Or Hurt?

    No-one knows exactly. All we know is that they had alcohol use disorders which meant that their excessive drinking had become harmful and caused a serious health problem.

    But we do know that drinking to this extent is likely to increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and heart failure, which can also increase the risk of dementia.

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    Treatments And Possible Solutions

    If your loved one experiences the symptoms mentioned above, they may need to undergo testing to rule out other conditions like stroke or a tumor. They, and you, will be asked about how long symptoms have lasted and about their history of alcohol use.

    If you know or suspect that your loved one drinks excessively, it is critical that you mention it to their doctor so they can receive a faster diagnosis and treatment.

    Blood tests can show blood alcohol levels, markers of liver damage caused by alcoholism, and levels of thiamine. Your loved one will likely also need assessments that measure thinking and memory skills and screening for depression and other mental health conditions.

    People with alcoholic or alcohol-related dementia not classified as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome may see significant symptom improvement or reversal if they quit drinking alcohol and improve their diet.

    If Wernicke encephalopathy is suspected, a person must get immediate medical treatment, typically consisting of high doses of thiamine and other B vitamins injected slowly into a vein. With timely treatment, most symptoms of this condition can be reversed within a few days. If Wernicke encephalopathy is left untreated or is not treated properly or rapidly, some people may have permanent brain damage, and very severe cases can even lead to death.

    Alcohol Dementia And Brain Damage

    According to the Alzheimers Society, excessive alcohol use can damage the brain and cause significant cognitive decline. However, moderate drinking has not yet been linked to an increased likelihood of developing Alzheimers or other dementia-related disorders. In some cases, alcohol is shown to contribute to healthier brain function.

    Of course, this doesnt mean that moderate drinking doesnt have some type of effect on the possibility of getting dementia earlier or more severely. The effects of alcohol on ones body vary per individual.

    Alcohol also tends to cause immense inflammation throughout the body, leading to several chronic health conditions. Some of these conditions include:

    • Heart disease
    • Various cancers, such as liver cancer, mouth cancer, and throat cancer
    • High blood pressure
    • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

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    Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander People

    Existing health inequalities put Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at increased risk of dementia, with higher rates of chronic diseases, and alcohol and tobacco use in Indigenous communities.7

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are three to five times more likely to develop dementia than non-Indigenous Australians, and this is likely under-reported.8

    Dementia is viewed differently in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Its not always seen as a medical condition. It can go undiagnosed and overlooked due to the many other chronic health issues Indigenous people face.9

    The lack of culturally sensitive screening tools and delays in diagnosis mean Indigenous people with dementia and their families face barriers to accessing medical treatment, information and support.9

    Binge Drinking May Cause Alzheimer’s Diseaseand It Might Strike Younger And In A Severe Form


    Binge drinking may be linked to both the onset and severity of Alzheimer’s disease, but scientists have only now embarked on a path to decipher each molecular step involved in how excessive alcohol consumption leads to the most common form of dementia.

    The research, underway at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research in New York, builds on a deceptively simple premise: Excessive alcohol consumption is toxic to the brain. Binge drinking likely plays an insidious role in the alteration of a normal brain protein into a biological rogue that is highly prevalent in Alzheimer’s disease. The protein is identified by a simplistic monosyllabic nametau.

    In its normal conformation, tau is found in neurons modulating the stability of axonal microtubules. But in its abnormal conformation, tau has long been considered one of the leading hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, and makes up the tangles in the notorious “plaques and tangles” pathology. The plaques are deposits of the protein beta amyloid. The Feinstein Institutes research involving binge drinking and Alzheimer’s dementia is riveted, however, on tau.

    A potential breakthrough in the investigation would be a definitive explanation of how tau transforms from a normal protein into a neuron-annihilating cause of Alzheimer’s under the influence of excessive alcohol. The New York researchers think they’re on the right path to make that discovery.

    Explore further

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    Alcohol And The Brain

    Dr. Joseph Garbely, vice president of medical services and medical director at Caron Treatment Centers, is of the belief that alcohol affects the brain, especially in older adults.

    Alcohol consumption causes cognitive abnormalities because alcohol has amnesia-like effects, Garbely told Healthline. It impairs your ability to encode new memories, which is where the term black out comes into play. Although the effects of alcohol use include reduced short-term memory, it can affect other areas of memory in the brain as well, mimicking the symptoms of dementia, and because it targets higher-executive functioning of the brain, the impairment to an older adults cognitive capability is much higher.

    Schwarzinger said that while the neurotoxic effects of heavy drinking have been known for decades, this study confirms both the major neurotoxic effect of heavy drinking on the brain as well as the strong associations of heavy drinking with all other independent risk factors for dementia onset.

    A growing body of neuroimaging studies support that alcohol use is directly correlated with brain damage, added Schwarzinger.

    Dr. Ming Wang, a staff physician at Caron Treatment Centers, notes that drinking can spiral out of control, making a bad situation even more serious.

    Does Drinking Alcohol Contribute To Dementia

    Excessive alcohol consumption over a lengthy time period can lead to brain damage, and may increase your risk of developing dementia. However, drinking alcohol in moderation has not been conclusively linked to an increased dementia risk, nor has it been shown to offer significant protection against developing dementia.

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    Inclusion And Exclusion Criteria

    Reviews or meta-analyses were included if they described the systematic search process with listed databases and search terms. Narrative reviews without an explicit search strategy were excluded. In addition, included studies were restricted to systematic reviews that assessed the relationship between alcohol use and cognitive health, dementia, AD, vascular and other dementias, brain function, or memory. Systematic reviews on the association between alcohol use and brain structures were also included. Studies were included if they were published in 2000 or later in order to include only reviews which were undertaken using methodological standards similar to those used today however, this does not mean that the original studies underlying these reviews were restricted to 2000 or later .

    Medical Testing For Alcohol Dementia

    Is alcohol the leading cause of dementia?

    The muscular and nervous system of an individual suffering from ARD functions differently from that of a regular person. There are several methods to test for alcoholic dementia. The functionality of the muscular and nervous system can unveil the possibility of alcohol dementia, while the nutritional status of a person can also be helpful in determining the results.

    Some of the Tests that Can be Conducted to Diagnose Alcoholic Dementia are:

    • Liver enzyme testing
    • Transketolase activity and Vitamin B1 availability
    • Muscular and nervous system check inclusive of increased pulse, low blood pressure, abnormal eye movement, and muscular weakness
    • Poor reflexes
    • Fast pulse
    • Lack of coordination

    It may be a bit difficult to detect its early stage in the elderly as its signs may be similar to issues that may occur with aging. An early diagnosis is important for effective treatment.

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    How Does It Happen Exactly

    Alcohol abuse leads to a constellation of negative effects such as eating disorders, dietary deficiencies, vomiting and ion depletion, and others. The deficiency of Vit B1 in the hypothalamus and thalamus of the brain leads to critical health conditions such as low blood pressure, mental confusion, poor muscle coordination, among other problems.

    The deficiency in Vit B1 develops into Korsakoff syndrome, also called an amnesic syndrome. Korsakoff causes the damaging of nerve cells and other coordinative and cognitive cells in the spinal cord and the brain. Especially the part of the brain that is largely responsible for memory. The problem with the mental disorder is the inability to acquire new memories and retrieving past memories.

    Even though Korsakoffs psychosis and Wernickes encephalopathy are related in terms of symptoms and causes, medical professionals believe the two disorders to be different stages of the mental disorder.

    Alcohol dementia may result in irreversible brain damage, and the alcoholic will continue to experience memory deterioration despite quitting alcohol.

    Strengths And Limitations Of This Study

    The present study has several strengths. Repeat assessment of alcohol consumption allowed us to assess mean midlife alcohol consumption in order to minimise biases due to measurement error, examine associations with dementia of trajectories of alcohol consumption between midlife and early old age, and examine whether age modifies associations between alcohol consumption and dementia. These features, along with a mean follow-up period of 23 years, allowed a comprehensive assessment of the association of alcohol consumption with dementia. Besides measurement error, studies that recruit participants at older ages are not able to assess the excess risk in those who change their alcohol consumption with age. We were also able to examine the shape of the association between alcohol consumption > 14 units/week and dementia, which was similar to that reported in a recent meta-analysis.7 Dose-response assessment by meta-analysis can be problematic for heavy alcohol consumption as the estimate is constrained to the mean or median consumption in the high alcohol consumption category.7 Finally, we used multistate models to examine the role of cardiometabolic disease and we undertook further analyses to take the competing risk of mortality into account where results were similar to those obtained using Cox regression, increasing confidence in our main findings.

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    What Is The Cause

    It is currently unclear as to whether alcohol has a direct toxic effect on the brain cells, or whether the damage is due to lack of thiamine, vitamin B1.Nutritional problems, which often accompany consistent or episodic heavy use of alcohol, are thought to be contributing factors. Key parts of the brain may suffer damage through vitamin deficiencies, particularly marked levels of thiamine deficiency and the direct effect that alcohol has on the absorption and use of thiamine.


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