In a study from Kaiser Permanente, scientists discovered that a brief intervention (BI) for alcohol use in primary care can lead to better health outcomes for adults with high blood pressure.
A brief intervention is a short-term approach that aims to moderate a person’s alcohol consumption to sensible levels and eliminate harmful drinking practices.
It is not always about abstaining from alcohol completely, but it may be encouraged if appropriate.
The researchers looked at the connection between alcohol brief intervention in primary care and outcomes among 72,929 adults with high blood pressure and 19,642 adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D) who showed signs of unhealthy alcohol use.
The study was done in a healthcare system that implemented alcohol screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment.
The researchers found that those with high blood pressure who received BI had a modest but strong additional reduction in the amount of alcohol they drank.
They drank 0.06 fewer drinks per drinking day and 0.30 fewer drinks per week compared to those who did not receive BI, after 12 months.
Also, those who received BI had higher odds of having a clinically meaningful reduction in diastolic blood pressure at 18 months.
However, no strong associations were found between BI and drinking or health outcomes among patients with T2D.
The team suggests that brief interventions offered as part of a program of systematic screening and intervention for unhealthy alcohol use may be an important addition to primary care chronic disease prevention.
Alcohol and high blood pressure
The relationship between alcohol and high blood pressure is complex and multifaceted.
Consuming too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
This is because alcohol can cause the blood vessels to narrow and constrict, increasing blood pressure.
Additionally, drinking alcohol can also cause weight gain, which is another risk factor for high blood pressure.
When you consume alcohol, it can also interfere with the effectiveness of blood pressure medications, making it harder to control blood pressure levels.
However, some studies have suggested that moderate alcohol consumption (1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men) may actually have a protective effect on the heart and blood vessels.
This is likely due to the fact that moderate alcohol consumption can increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, also known as “good” cholesterol, which can help protect against heart disease.
Overall, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of alcohol consumption, particularly if you have high blood pressure or other cardiovascular risk factors.
How to prevent high blood pressure
High blood pressure can be prevented or managed with some healthy lifestyle choices, such as:
Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing high blood pressure. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a healthy weight by eating a healthy, balanced diet and engaging in regular physical activity.
Regular exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity such as walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling can help lower blood pressure. Exercise helps the heart to become more efficient, which in turn helps to lower blood pressure.
Healthy diet: Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products and low in saturated and total fat can help lower blood pressure.
Limiting salt intake: Consuming too much salt can lead to high blood pressure. Therefore, it is important to limit salt intake and choose low-sodium foods.
Limiting alcohol intake: Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure. Therefore, it is important to limit alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
Quit smoking: Smoking can raise blood pressure, so it is important to quit smoking to help lower blood pressure and improve overall health.
Managing stress: Stress can lead to high blood pressure, so it is important to manage stress through relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
Regular blood pressure check-ups: It is important to have regular blood pressure check-ups to monitor blood pressure levels and detect any changes early.
If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies that drinking tea could help lower blood pressure, and early time-restricted eating could help improve blood pressure.
For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about a new way to treat high blood pressure, and results showing cannabis strongly linked to death risk in high blood pressure.
The study was conducted by Felicia W. Chi et al and published in BMJ Open.
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