Post-menopausal women who indulge in heavy alcohol consumption may be at a higher risk of developing sarcopenia — the loss of muscle mass and strength — which may lead to cardio-metabolic diseases and disabilities, researchers say.
Sarcopenia is an age-related process that also affects balance, gait, and overall ability to perform tasks of daily living.
High-risk alcohol drinking — known to inhibit skeletal muscle protein synthesis — is also closely related to diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia, which are modifiable risk factors for sarcopenia.
The findings showed that the prevalence of sarcopenia is nearly four times higher in the high-risk alcohol-drinking group as compared to the low-risk group.
Further, the women in the high-risk group were also more likely to have worse blood pressure and total cholesterol levels.
“With this study suggesting that more muscle loss leads to sarcopenia and other studies suggesting that even one drink of alcohol may increase the risk of breast cancer, postmenopausal women should limit their alcohol intake,” said JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) – a US-based nonprofit organisation.
To prevent the loss of muscle mass and increase strength, preclinical studies suggest a possible benefit from oestrogen therapy when combined with exercise.
However, the role of oestrogen in muscle mass is not yet clear for postmenopausal women, the researchers said in the paper published in the journal “Menopause”.
For the Korean-based study, the team included 2,373 postmenopausal women (mean age 62.4 years).
Out of these 8.2 per cent met the criteria for developing sarcopenia.