Drinking just one alcoholic drink daily could lead to higher blood pressure as we get older. That’s what new research suggests.
This study looked at data from thousands of adults in the U.S., Korea, and Japan.
The findings showed that people who drank regularly, even a small amount, experienced higher blood pressure over time than those who didn’t drink at all.
Dr. Marco Vinceti, who led the study, was quite surprised by the results. He noticed that even a low level of regular alcohol consumption could cause blood pressure to rise.
Though the increase was not as significant as seen in heavy drinkers, it was still noticeable. Dr. Vinceti teaches at two universities. One in Italy and one in the United States.
Why is Blood Pressure Important?
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is something we should all watch out for. It can lead to serious heart problems.
Alarmingly, about half of all adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure. But since it doesn’t usually show any signs, many don’t even know they have it. So it’s important to get checked regularly.
Past studies have shown that drinking alcohol can affect our blood pressure. But it was unclear how drinking a little alcohol regularly could affect it.
The American Heart Association recommends that men should have no more than two drinks per day, and women only one. They also advise those who don’t drink not to start.
The Results of the Study
In this new study, the researchers looked at the health records of nearly 20,000 adults from the U.S., Korea, and Japan. None of them had high blood pressure when the study started.
But over a period of four to 12 years, the researchers saw blood pressure rise in people who drank regularly. This happened whether they drank a little or a lot.
The researchers compared regular drinkers with those who never drank. They found that blood pressure went up more in people who drank.
There are two numbers in a blood pressure reading. The top number measures the pressure when the heart beats.
The bottom number measures the pressure when the heart rests between beats. Both numbers were higher in people who drank alcohol regularly.
For example, people who drank about one alcoholic drink per day saw their top number increase by 1.25 over five years. Those who drank about four drinks per day saw an increase of 4.9.
The bottom number also increased in men who drank, but not in women. It’s important to note that the top number is a better predictor of heart problems than the bottom one.
A Word of Caution
The researchers explained that they looked at the amount of alcohol people drank in grams.
This is because the amount of alcohol in a “standard drink” can vary from one country to another and from one type of drink to another.
So, the study confirmed that alcohol can indeed lead to an increase in blood pressure. Even if you drink a little, it could affect your health over time.
Dr. Vinceti suggests limiting alcohol or even avoiding it altogether. It’s a simple step that could help keep your blood pressure in check and your heart healthy.
If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies that early time-restricted eating could help improve blood pressure, and natural coconut sugar could help reduce blood pressure and artery stiffness.
For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about added sugar in your diet linked to higher blood pressure, and results showing vitamin D could improve blood pressure in people with diabetes.
The study was published in the American Heart Association Journal Hypertension.
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