What alcohol does to your body after the age of 40

In his NHS clinic specialising in alcohol problems, Dr Rao sees people in their 60s with subtle alcohol related brain damage after a lifetime of casual drinking. ‘I always say to my patients ‘Your brain is affected a lot earlier than your liver’’, he says. ‘Before we see the cirrhosis we see depression and problems with impulse control, moodiness, problems making complex decisions, say with finances and their children or spouses might say ‘Oh that’s just so-and-so being a silly old bugger,’ so the problems are missed.’  Good news is, the damage can be reversed after just six months of not drinking, he says. 


Alcohol causes a flushing of the skin in those prone, says Professor Nick Lowe, consultant dermatologist and spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation. ‘This can trigger rosacea, a chronic redness in the skin because the blood vessels enlarge and produce more blood flow. Though the redness can go down, over time it can lead to a permanent enlargement of the blood vessels and visible thread veins on skin.’ 

These can be treated with pulsed right or vascular lasers but are better caught early for best results, he says. And those spots you get after a night out?  Here’s why. 

‘Alcohol can make people stressed and anxious and this stress produces the androgen hormones that stimulate acne,’ says Professor Lowe.  And the reason heavy drinkers tend to look a little worse for wear?

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