The short answer to “Can you develop an alcohol allergy later in life?” and yes!!
I know why it happened to me. I was a drinker in my first thirty five years. I have not had any problems with alcohol allergies. I stopped drinking. I started drinking again in the mid forties. My drinking was on the level of getting drunk about 3 nights a week. (yes, I was an alcoholic who has to deal with an alcohol allergy which I will explain) After two years of suddenly drinking one night I thought I had a stroke.
This is probably the best way to describe allergic reactions to alcohol for someone who has never experienced it alone. The symptoms that made me think I had a stroke because I had never heard of alcohol allergy before. My symptoms of drinking that night hit quickly and severely and included:
- Sensation of intense pressure in my head and congestion. This was the first and biggest symptom.
- I feel like someone is sticking pins in my face. A thorny feeling everywhere
- Beetroot. It looked like I was blushing very badly
- Red spots Red spots began to appear on the shoulders, chest, arms and legs
- Running impulse. He could also feel his pulse throbbing in his veins almost as if my pulse was too intense or hard
These were my main symptoms. At the time I had absolutely no idea that this had to do with allergic reactions to alcohol simply because I had never heard of such a thing.
I had discarded my symptoms at the time and thought they were just a few strange strokes of luck, but the only thing I remember is that the whole experience definitely ruined me by enjoying the drink.
These alcohol allergy symptoms continued to manifest over the next two years, but NOT on a regular basis, which was also disconcerting. I could drink several times within a couple of weeks and then suddenly the symptoms would strike again.
I finally stopped drinking at 48 and these symptoms had a lot to do with it. Although I still have no idea what these symptoms were, I made common sense to realize that these symptoms that I had when I drank alcohol were my bodies as a way to rebel and tell me to stop.
The reason I developed an alcohol allergy later in life was after two years of regular drinking that my body’s ability to manage and break down alcohol was reduced. With some people (especially Asians because of genetics) their ability to manage and break down alcohol is inherited. In other words, 50% of the Asian population will have these symptoms when they drink alcohol even though they rarely drink or have no alcohol addictions.
This allergy to alcohol and its symptoms is called Asian Flush, Asian Glow or Asian Girl Glow. The cause of my symptoms when I was drinking alcohol was that I was abusing my body. People who drink only socially and who experience these symptoms have a real alcohol allergy. In these people, these symptoms are not the way your body tells you to stop drinking, but it is caused by a “genetic defect” that significantly reduces your body’s ability to manage alcohol.
For people like me (people who drink in excess of both frequency and volume) the answer is to stop drinking! For people who don’t have a problem with alcohol and have Asian Flush, the symptoms are treatable.