Posted on Mar 14, 2019, 3 p.m.
The American Academy of Cardiology have released a study suggest those who are heavy and moderate drinkers tend to have high blood pressure, and are twice as likely to suffer from hypertension; results will be presented in New Orleans at the American College of Cardiology’s 68th Annual Scientific Session.
Moderate drinking was defined as 7-13 drinks per week, and heavy drinking was defined as 14+ drinks per week. Over 17,000 adults enrolled in the nationally representative National Health and Nutrition Examination Study were monitored; 53% of those 17,059 participants which were moderate drinkers were more likely to have stage 1 hypertension, and were twice as likely to have stage 2 hypertension. Those participants which were heavy drinkers were 69% more likely to develop stage 1 hypertension, and 2.4 times more likely to advance to stage 2.
Previous research claiming moderate drinking to be linked to lower risk of heart disease is challenged by these findings as hypertension is one of the top risk factors for stroke and heart attack. The researchers position that “those studies did not take blood pressure into account when studying moderate drinkers; and his could be a turning point for clinical practice as well as future research, education, and public health policy regarding alcohol consumption..”
Dr. Amer Aladin believes results may stem from the effect of alcohol on appetite as drinkers tend to eat more, and points to the effect of alcohol in the brain and liver as possible reasons for blood pressure spikes.
Participants had blood pressure readings taken in their homes over the course of the study, and were surveyed on weekly alcohol consumption. Average blood pressure among non-drinkers was 109/67 mmHg; average blood pressure for moderate drinkers was 128/79 mmHg; and average blood pressure for heavy drinkers was 153/83 mmHg; results were adjusted for factors such as age, sex, race and demographics linked to hypertension.
Dr. Aladin says the study is large and diverse enough in terms of race and gender, results are informative for future research. Those that are moderate to heavy drinkers should have their blood pressure checked regularly, and cut down on drinking to eventually quit.
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