Can Drinking Cause Alzheimer’s Disease?

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Drinking alcoholic beverages can disrupt the way the brain and other organs function, increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s development, among other chronic conditions, in seniors. Encourage your senior loved one to find healthy habits that combat the urge to drink alcohol. Here are some of the connections between drinking alcohol and Alzheimer’s risk.

Disrupts the Removal of Amyloid Plaques

The accumulation of amyloid plaques can interfere with nerve cell transmission and affect how the brain stores memories. The body has a natural way of removing these plaques from the brain. However, drinking alcohol can prevent the removal of amyloid plaques and lead to cognitive impairment because alcohol is a depressant that impacts sleep quality. Although alcohol makes seniors fall asleep quickly, it’s common for them to wake up in the middle of the night. Without sleep, amyloid plaques could build up in the brain, increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s development.

Leads to High Blood Pressure

Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure to unhealthy levels. When sugars and unhealthy fats from alcohol get into the bloodstream, they can damage the arteries and cause them to harden, leading to high blood pressure. Hypertension can cause tangles and plaques in the brain, which are common markers of Alzheimer’s. To prevent high blood pressure and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s, aging adults need to stop drinking or limit their weekly alcohol intake. 

If your loved one does develop Alzheimer’s, help is available. Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to manage without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who don’t have experience in providing Alzheimer’s care. Des Moines Home Care Assistance provides Alzheimer’s care seniors and their families can depend on. Our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method was designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives.

Increases the Risk of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Undergoing a severe traumatic brain injury or repeated brain injuries can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Most head injuries are associated with falls and motor vehicle accidents. Regular consumption of alcohol can cause seniors to lose muscle and bone mass, which leads to poor balance. When muscles aren’t evenly distributed and become imbalanced, it’s easier to fall. For seniors, lack of balance and stability can increase the risk of brain injuries and, ultimately, Alzheimer’s disease. To reduce this risk, seniors should avoid substances that can alter their mood and cognitive abilities, including alcohol. 

Keeping track of what your loved one eats and drinks isn’t always easy. If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Des Moines, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

Interferes with Diabetes Management

Older adults living with diabetes need to manage the disease to alleviate its symptoms and increase circulation in the brain. Managing diabetes can also slow its progression and boost overall quality of life. When a chronic health condition such as diabetes isn’t managed properly, it can worsen and increase the odds of other health conditions, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Drinking sweet wine and beer could cause your loved one’s glucose levels to rise, preventing the cells in the pancreas from making insulin. Alcohol consumption can also disrupt diabetes treatment and cause brain changes that increase the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Taking measures to minimize the risk of disease is always a good idea, but sometimes those measures don’t prevent the disease from occurring in an aging parent. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Des Moines Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (515) 264-2438 to learn more about our customized care plans.

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