Is Chronic Alcohol Use a Risk Factor for Cognitive Impairment in Elderly Women?




Luna, Silas
Chustz, Erica
Naguit, Ashley
Barron, Kirk
Hartos, Jessica


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Introduction: Cognitive impairment and alcohol consumption are both significant health concerns in the United States; however, there is insufficient research regarding a possible relationship between these two variables in women and the elderly. Based on these gaps in the literature, the purpose of this study was to assess whether there is a relationship between alcohol consumption and cognitive impairment in women aged 55-64. Methods: This cross-sectional analysis used 2014 BRFSS data for females ages 55-64 from AL, AR, KY, and MS. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between heavy alcohol use and cognitive impairment, while controlling for education level, employment status, income level, history of stroke, weight, and ethnicity. Results: A minority of the target population reported cognitive impairment, defined as serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions in the last 30 days (17-21%), and an even smaller minority reported heavy alcohol use of 1+ drinks daily (2-5%). After controlling for demographic factors, medical history, and socioeconomic status, cognitive impairment was not significantly related to alcohol use in any of the 4 states. Conclusions: In adjusted analyses, cognitive impairment was not significantly related to alcohol consumption in females aged 55-64 in any state. Education level, employment status and income level were all inversely related to alcohol consumption in all states. This study was unable to obtain any history of the patients’ alcohol use or cognitive impairment over time. Primary care providers may not need to screen for cognitive impairment or chronic alcohol use in women aged 55-64, unless indicated by patient presentation, since these conditions are low prevalence, and providers should should be aware of possible relations between cognitive impairment and education level, employment status, and income.