Dr Tamara Hunter on Excessive Drinking in your 50s and 60s

Tamara HunterChannel 9

After a busy day at work, settling in with a few glasses of wine in the evening in your 50s and 60s is considered normal. However, there has been an increase in the rate of heart problems, liver disease and alcohol-induced dementia as a result.

Normally, the discussion is around teens and young adults and their levels of binge drinking, however, this particular report is focussing on those later on in life, specifically in their 50s and 60s.

According to Dr Hunter, it is not surprising that there has been a rise in medical conditions due to alcohol consumption at this age, as Australia’s alcohol consumption is higher than most other countries in the world.

Dr Hunter continues on to state that alcohol is the second leading cause of preventable death and hospitalisation (second to tobacco) in Australia. We also know that 1 in 5 West Australian’s drink alcohol to a level that is going to cause them harm at some point.

What is the solution? According to Dr Hunter, it is about management. With Australian culture pushing more towards having a social drink after work, it’s important to remember that alcohol is a drug. It can become an addiction and the more we drink, the more we will feel the need to continue drinking.

When managing how many glasses of wine you plan to drink, Dr Hunter says that we often underestimate how much we are actually consuming. The recommendation, for a healthy individual, is no more than 2 standard drinks per day. An average single glass of wine is actually 1.8 standard drinks. Therefore, it is easy to see how you can drink more than you actually intend to.

Also, with the mentality to reward ourselves on the weekend and after long days of work, there will be very little alcohol-free days. According to Dr Hunter, for alcohol management, it is about being mindful. Unless you have an addiction issue, you don’t actually need that glass of wine. She continues on to state that it’s not necessarily about going teetotal, but being mindful of the volume, type of alcohol you are drinking, having days without drinking and perhaps focussing your energy on something else, like exercise after work, rather than alcohol.