Why does alcohol raise blood pressure

Even moderate alcohol consumption can increase the risk of high blood pressure

17.05.2019

A glass of beer or wine a day supposedly doesn't matter. However, a new US study suggests that low, regular alcohol consumption could also harm heart health. This should be pointed out on World Hypertension Day.

Researchers at Wake Forest University in North Carolina divided over 17,000 participants into three groups: one did not drink alcohol, the second a little more (7–13 drinks a week), and the third a lot (more than 14 drinks a week). The result: The moderate drinkers had a 53% higher risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) in stage 1 (130-139 / 80-89 mmHg) and a twice as high risk of hypertension in stage 2 (> 140 /> 90 mmHg) like the non-alcoholic group. The heavy drinkers even had a 69% increased risk of stage 1 hypertension; their risk of stage 2 hypertension was 2.4 times higher than that of abstainers.

The study was presented on March 17, 2019 at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Presented in New Orleans by lead author Amer Aladin with the comment: "I think this will be a turning point for clinical practice, future research, education and health policy regarding alcohol use." It is the first study to show that both Heavy as well as moderate alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of hypertension.

According to the researchers, the influence of alcohol on blood pressure could be due to several factors. Since alcohol is high in calories and also increases appetite, the body absorbs more calories from drinking, which promotes weight gain and thus high blood pressure.

The data for the study come from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES), a major study by the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for several decades. Over 17,000 adults reported on their drinking behavior in questionnaires, and their blood pressure was also measured. Overall, the average blood pressure in the non-drinkers was about 109/67 mmHg, in the moderate drinkers 128/79 mmHg and in the heavy drinkers 153/82 mmHg. Because high blood pressure is a leading cardiovascular risk factor, the study contradicts the view that moderate alcohol consumption promotes heart health.

Source: Kardiologie.com