More than 1 drink a day may raise high blood pressure risk in people with diabetes

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In a new study, researchers found drinking eight or more alcoholic beverages a week may increase the risk of high blood pressure (also called hypertension) among adults with type 2 diabetes.

This is the first large study to specifically examine the association of alcohol intake and high blood pressure among adults with Type 2 diabetes

The research was conducted by a team at Wake Forest University.

Previous studies have suggested that heavy alcohol consumption was linked to high blood pressure, however, the association of moderate alcohol consumption with high blood pressure was unclear.

In the study, researchers examined the link between alcohol consumption and blood pressure in more than 10,000 adults with type 2 diabetes (average age 63, 61% male).

All participants had type 2 diabetes for an average of 10 years prior to enrolling in the study.

In addition to 10 years with type 2 diabetes, they were at increased risk for heart events because they had pre-existing heart disease; evidence of potential heart disease; or had at least two additional disease risk factors (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, or obesity).

In this study, alcohol consumption was categorized as none; light (1-7 drinks per week); moderate (8-14 drinks per week); and heavy (15 or more drinks per week).

One alcoholic beverage was equivalent to a 12-ounce beer, 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.

Blood pressure was categorized as normal (below 120/80 mm Hg); elevated (120-129/<80 mm Hg); Stage 1 high blood pressure (130-139/80-89 mm Hg); or Stage 2 high blood pressure (140 mm Hg/90 mm Hg or higher).

The researchers found light drinking was not linked to elevated blood pressure or either stage of high blood pressure.

Moderate drinking was linked to increased odds of elevated blood pressure by 79%; Stage 1 high blood pressure by 66%; and Stage 2 high blood pressure by 62%.

Heavy drinking was associated with increased odds of elevated blood pressure by 91%; Stage 1 high blood pressure by 149% (a 2.49-fold increase); and Stage 2 high blood pressure by 204% (a 3.04-fold increase).

The more alcohol consumed, the higher the risk and severity of high blood pressure.

The findings suggest that both moderate and heavy alcohol consumption appear to be independently linked to 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.

One author of the study is Matthew J. Singleton, M.D., M.B.E., M.H.S., M.Sc.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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