In a new study from Vanderbilt University, researchers find that frequent binge drinking is linked to higher blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar in young drinkers than non-binge drinkers.
Previous research has shown that development of high blood pressure before age 45 is associated with significantly higher risks of cardiovascular death later in life.
In the study, the team examined high blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and other cardiovascular risks in 4,710 adults ages 18-45.
These people were classified as non-drinkers, binge drinkers 12 times or less a year, and high-frequency binge drinkers (more than 12 times a year).
The researchers found that binge drinking was linked to higher systolic blood pressure. In addition, frequent binge drinking affect levels of cholesterol.
Both factors in contributing to cardiovascular disease. Female binge drinkers had higher blood glucose levels than abstainers.
The team suggests that adults need to be aware that repeated binge drinking may have consequences beyond the immediate.
The study also found binge drinking affected men and women differently.
Men who reported that they repeatedly binge drink had higher systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol while women who repeatedly binge drink had higher blood sugar levels compared to non-binge drinkers.
The researchers suggest that binge drinking rates are at an all-time high. One in five college-age students reports three or more binge drinking episodes in the prior two weeks.
Compared to previous generations, the pervasiveness, regularity and intensity of binge drinking may place today’s youth at greater risk for alcohol-related harm.
Mariann Piano, senior associate dean of research at School of Nursing, led the study.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
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