Yes, that pain intensifies with age. And your liver's just one of the culprits.
Ohhh, bad headache? Did you have too much fun last night? Too much to drink? Damn, dear, I get it. I get what's happening. You're getting old!
Gone are the days when you can wake up in the morning feeling so great just right after you've partied (so hard) all night. Look at you now, barely opening your eyes, swearing you'll never, ever drink again. What's wrong? Again, you're getting old!
Yep, blaming your maturing body for this might just be a valid excuse. And while there hasn't been a lot of research looking into how age impacts the body's response to alcohol, you can show this article as a proof. Here are a few theories:
"One hypothesis is that we have fewer liver enzymes or that these enzymes do not work as efficiently the older we get," says George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. "Enzymes are responsible for metabolizing alcohol to help clear it out of our system, so this could mean it ends up being in the body for a longer time, thus prolonging a hangover."
"Older individuals [also] have less total body water thereby decreasing the volume in which substances, such as alcohol, can circulate," says Stephanie Yarnell, a fellow at the Yale School of Medicine. "This can lead to a higher blood alcohol concentration."
Even your brain's not on your side. "I think of a hangover as a mini withdrawal symptom," Koob says. "When you're younger, you have more brain plasticity which allows you to recover more quickly. This means that your withdrawal period is shorter. But as you get older, the brain can lose some of this plasticity, leading to a longer withdrawal."
Add the up to the increasing medications that mixes up with alcohol, and there you have your hellish hangover! "Antacids like ranitidine and cimetidine can potentially increase one's blood alcohol concentration, and booze could amplify the side effects of sedatives," he says.
But hey, alcohol's too fun to let go of, right? (Just don't forget to prepare your Advil for the morning. Yikes, another medication!)
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