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VERIFY: Do hangovers get worse as we age?

"The short answer is yes."

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. -- St. Patrick's Day is a time for celebrating the patron saint of Ireland with corn beef, cabbage, and green beer.

Quick fact from Wallethub: St. Patrick's Day is the fourth most popular drinking day after New Year's Eve, Christmas, and the 4th of July.

Too much drinking, though, can leave us lying around with a headache or an upset stomach. And, this only gets worse as we get older. Right?

Our source is Dr. Donald Hensrud, the Medical Director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program in Rochester.

So, do hangovers get worse as we age?

"The short answer is yes. And, there are many different reasons for this," said Dr. Hensrud.

Ok, just like we thought, it's true. But, why?

"As we age, we gain a little bit of body fat. Alcohol is not absorbed by body fat, so our levels can rise a little bit," said Dr. Hensrud.

Oh, there's more.

We lose more water, making us susceptible to dehydration. Our liver doesn't work quite as efficiently. And, our bodies don't fight inflammation as well, and we just recover more slowly.

What exactly is a hangover?

"Well, we don't know the precise reason, but there are some theories. One is there are shifts in fluids and electrolytes. For example, alcohol is a diuretic, it causes water loss from the body, so people get more dehydrated," said Dr. Hensrud.

So, what can you do?

Well, eat something. Mix in a water after every drink. And, don't take pills before bed.

"Tylenol affects the liver, so it's a double whammy on the liver if people are taking Tylenol in addition to alcohol," said Dr. Hensrud.

And, of course, you can always just not drink as much.


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