Do Alcohol and COPD Mix?

Is it safe to drink if you have COPD?It’s been a hot, stressful day at work, and all you can think about when you get home is cracking open a nice cold one and putting your feet up.  And of course, for most of us, alcohol in moderation is considered safe.  Drinking too much alcohol is harmful for any person.  Health risks for overindulgence include: liver disease, different types of cancer, and high blood pressure.   There is also an increased risk for accident-related injury.

Have you ever wondered if alcohol is safe to drink if you have COPD?

Alcohol and COPD

There are disadvantages to drinking alcohol if you have COPD.  First of all, drinking alcoholic beverages can slow your breathing, which may make it harder to cough up mucus – a potentially dangerous situation for those with COPD. Secondly, drinking beer, wine, or liquor-based drinks has the tendency to fill you up, while not providing your body with nutrition. For those with COPD, a balanced, highly nutritious diet is especially important.  Third, alcohol can interact harmfully with certain medications, like oral steroids, that COPD patients commonly take.

Alcohol with COPD: Yes or No?

To make the personal decision whether or not to drink alcohol, talk things over with your health care provider.  But in your conversation, be sure to disclose to your doctor all the details of your current condition, and ask his or her opinion on potential medication interactions, including over-the-counter drugs.

In any event, experts recommend no more than two alcoholic drinks per day for men and only one drink per day for women and any person over the age of 65.

And just for the record, one drink equals:

  • 12 ounces of most beer varieties, or
  • 5 ounces of most wines, or
  • 1.5 ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits

Maybe there are better ways to unwind at the end of a stressful day.  Try a refreshing glass of unsweetened seltzer with a splash of citrus juice and a twist of lime.  Put your feet up and relax.  Or better yet, take a stroll in the community park with a good friend.  Talk out the things that are stressing you. Chances are at the end of your walk, you’ll feel better than you would if you went for the alcohol.

We care about your health!


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