More than one drink a day may raise high blood pressure risk in people with type 2 diabetes

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In a new study, researchers found that 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 test the association of alcohol intake and hypertension 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 associated with high blood pressure, however, the association of moderate alcohol consumption with high blood pressure was unclear.

In the study, the team examined the relationship 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; or had at least two additional cardiovascular 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 according to the 2017 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults 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).

Most participants were already taking one or more blood pressure medications; therefore, the analysis of the blood pressure readings was adjusted to account for the effects of the medications and to estimate the underlying degree of high blood pressure.

The researchers found that light drinking was not associated with elevated blood pressure or either stage of high blood pressure;

moderate drinking was associated with 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%; and Stage 2 high blood pressure by 204%; and

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

The team says both moderate and heavy alcohol consumption appears to be associated with 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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