Although recent studies have shown some benefits of moderate drinking, a new study has shown that this drinking habit is linked to high blood pressure.
Previously, scientists have found that moderate drinking is linked to a lower risk of some forms of heart disease.
However, these studies did not examine high blood pressure among moderate drinkers.
It is known that high blood pressure is a big risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
In the present study, the researchers aimed to find the link between alcohol drinking and blood pressure health.
The team examined more than 17,000 U.S. adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES).
Participants reported their drinking habits. In addition, their blood pressure was recorded.
They found drinking 7 to 13 drinks per week, or moderate alcohol drinking may raise one’s risk of high blood pressure.
Compared with people who never drink, moderate drinkers were 53% more likely to have stage 1 high blood pressure and twice as likely to have stage 2 hypertension.
In heavy drinkers who drink more than 14 drinks per week, the ratios were 69% higher in stage 1 high blood pressure and 1.4 times higher in stage 2 high blood pressure.
Stage 1 high blood pressure is defined as systolic blood pressure between 130-139 or diastolic pressure between 80-89.
Stage 2 high blood pressure is defined as systolic pressure above 140 or diastolic pressure above 90.
The researchers believe their large-sample study has very strong statistical power. The results question the notion that moderate alcohol drinking could benefit heart health.
The team explains that alcohol’s impact on blood pressure may come from many factors. For example, alcohol cold increase appetite and risk of obesity and being overweight.
Alcohol also can change the brain and the liver and lead to high blood pressure.
They suggest that people who drink a moderate or large amount of alcohol should check blood pressure regularly and may consider to cut down drinking and eventually quit.
This is the first study that shows that both heavy and moderate alcohol drinking could increase high blood pressure.
The study lead author is Amer Aladin, MD, a cardiology fellow at Wake Forest Baptist Health.
The research was presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 68th Annual Scientific Session.
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