Having more than one alcoholic drink a day increases the risk of hypertension by nearly 80 percent, a study reveals.
Moderate drinking — which is defined as 8 to 14 alcoholic drinks weekly — results in severe high blood pressure.
Researchers looked into the connection between the amount of drinking and blood pressure among more than 10,000 people with type 2 diabetes in the USA and Canada.
Subjects were divided into different groups based on alcohol consumption levels:
- those who consumed none,
- those who had 1 to 7 drinks a week (light),
- those who drank 8 to 14 a week (moderate),
- and those who drank 15 or more a week (heavy).
The unit for one alcoholic drink was 1.5 oz (45 ml) of hard liquor, 5 oz (148 ml) glass of wine, or 12 oz (355 ml) of beer.
A normal blood pressure in the study was classified as below 120/80 mm Hg, elevated was higher than 120/80 mm Hg, stage 1 hypertension ranging from 130 to 139 mm Hg/80 to 89 mm Hg, and stage 2 hypertension as 140 mm Hg/90 mm Hg or higher.
Dr Matthew Singleton, the senior study author, said:
“This is the first large study to specifically investigate the association of alcohol intake and hypertension among adults with Type 2 diabetes.
Previous studies have suggested that heavy alcohol consumption was associated with high blood pressure, however, the association of moderate alcohol consumption with high blood pressure was unclear.”
Here is a summary of their findings:
- Light drinking didn’t cause high blood pressure.
- The odds for high blood pressure were raised by 79 percent, stage 1 and stage 2 hypertension by 66 percent and 62 percent respectively with moderate drinking.
- The odds for high blood pressure increased by 91 percent, stage 1 and stage 2 hypertension by 149 percent and 204 percent respectively with heavy drinking.
- Finally, the likelihood of having severe hypertension got higher and higher with increases in alcohol consumption.
Dr Singleton said:
“Though light to moderate alcohol consumption may have positive effects on cardiovascular health in the general adult population, both moderate and heavy alcohol consumption appear to be independently associated with higher odds of high blood pressure among those with Type 2 diabetes.
Lifestyle modification, including tempering alcohol consumption, may be considered in patients with Type 2 diabetes, particularly if they are having trouble controlling their blood pressure.
People with Type 2 diabetes are at higher cardiovascular risk, and our findings indicate that alcohol consumption is associated with hypertension, so limited drinking is recommended.”
The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (Mayl et al., 2020).