Amid all the doom and gloom around the health effects of alcohol consumption, yet another study highlights the fact that it’s a risky business.
This time, it’s comes as a word of caution for menopausal women, particularly for those who like to give the bottle a nudge on occasions.
That’s because drinking after menopause increases the risk of sarcopenia, say the authors of the Korean study.
To reach this finding, they analysed data from 2373 postmenopausal women over a three-year period. More than 8% met the criteria for sarcopenia.
The researchers found that the prevalence of sarcopenia increased in line with consumption rates, from 7.6% for low-risk drinkers, 11.0% for intermediate-risk, and 22.7% for those in the high-risk range.
In a fully adjusted model, those who consumed the most alcohol had more than fourfold increased odds of developing sarcopenia compared with those who drank the least.
Published in the journal Menopause, the study defined sarcopenia as the loss of muscle mass during ageing.
The authors noted that the condition posed an “increased burden on public health,” due to the growing number of postmenopausal women in ageing populations.
After menopause, sarcopenia could account for a 6% loss of muscle mass among women per decade, while modifiable risk factors, such as alcohol consumption and smoking, could accelerate this process, they said.
Commenting on the study, Dr JoAnn Pinkerton, from the North American Menopause Society, told MedPage Today that oestrogen hormone therapy could mitigate this risk.
“Postmenopausal women have lower estrogen levels due to menopause,” she said.
“Heavy use of alcohol in this group of women led to more muscle wasting, less strength and poorer physical performance. Exercise, and possibly postmenopausal oestrogen, may play a beneficial role in maintaining muscle mass.”