Why do hangovers last longer as you get older?
SPOKANE, Wash. – If you made it into work Monday after the Super Bowl…great!
If you called in sick, you are not alone, 14 million workers were expected to call out of work because of a hangover.
Super Sick Monday is a thing was trending in the New York Times last week as people geared up for parties.
So why does it seem to take longer to get over a hangover as you get older?
Dr. Ian Riddock at MultiCare Rockwood Clinic's Heart and Vascular Center said he suspects that as we age, our metabolism slows down and so therefore we are probably not able to handle the acetaldehyde, the chief metabolite or byproduct of alcohol.
As we age we have fewer liver enzymes to break down the alcohol. We also lose muscle mass as we age, replacing our body with fat. A drink will cause more intoxication in a body with a higher fat content compared to a leaner body.
Doctors have said feeling hung over is a combination of age, drinking history and life. With age you have the slowing down of the metabolism. You may be drinking less as you age, then when a party or event happens you drink a lot more than normal so your body cannot handle the alcohol at once. Doctors think it could also include your drinking history.
When we are in our mid to late 30s and 40s, then have a crazy night like we did in our 20s' the body cannot handle it. The hangover feeling is magnified because, as we get older, we just have a lot more life and work responsibilities that are also more emotionally and maybe physically demanding. We do not have the luxury of down time.
Most of the ethanol alcohol in the body is broken down in the liver. Therefore, longstanding use of alcohol could result in liver inflammation and cirrhosis. However, many people do not realize that years of heavy drinking alcohol can lead to high blood pressure. This chronic high blood pressure can cause the walls of your heart to become thick and dilated and eventually cause heart failure.
You have a hangover for a very good reason but researchers still do not know why or the exact mechanism of how alcohol affects your heart.
There is scientific and anecdotal evidence to suggest that hangovers do get worse with age. They do not know if it is your body reacting to the amount of alcohol you are drinking. Some people think it is a mild form of alcohol withdrawal. Some people think it is dehydration or electrolyte imbalance.
In any case, hangovers are a sign that you are drinking too much at any age.