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Alcohol Abuse Can Affect Bone Health in Men but Not in Women

Previous research has already established that excessive alcohol intake can lead to reduced bone mass in older alcohol dependents. These days, however, new studies find that younger men who abuse alcohol are also increasing their risk of incurring fractures and slower bone healing process.

According to a study conducted by Dr. Peter Malik of the Medical University at Innsbruck, Austria, malnutrition, insufficient exercise, individualism and insufficient sunlight can all lead to osteoporosis in younger alcoholics. The findings were based on an analysis of 57 patients under 50 years of age who are undergoing treatment in alcohol rehab. Most of the subjects also smoked. The study found that “almost one-quarter of the men had a bone mineral density that was lower than expected for age. In the women’s group – 20 of the patients – only one had a low bone mineral density.” The results of this study will be published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research in February 2009.

The findings of the study where interesting because while the female patients also took in high amounts of alcohol, they did not exhibit signs of deteriorating bone health, nor were they at a high risk of it. “There seems to be a protective factor present – probably higher estrogen level – which cannot be fully explained at the moment,” Malik said. This, however, does not mean that females are not as prone to deteriorating bone health. It only indicates that they still have the ability to resist the condition for the time being.

Most of the subjects also manifested Vitamin D deficiency which is also indicative of malnutrition and insufficient exposure to sunlight.

Malik’s study also found that the young men still had a normal amount of a particular substance in the blood that indicates the formation of new bones. This finding suggests that the potential effects of alcoholism on bone health are still reversible if the patients quit drinking or minimized their alcohol intake.

Learn more about the effects of excessive alcohol intake and what you can do to overcome addiction here at Miramar Recovery Centers. We are also a California drug rehab that specializes in individual treatment approaches to efficiently address the varied concerns of our clients. Miramar offers treatment for various types of substance abuse and dual diagnosis disorders. Contact us through this website for details.