A new study has revealed that limiting alcohol consumption to just one drink a day may not be sufficient to prevent adverse health effects, specifically increased blood pressure.
This research, which analyzed data from seven international studies conducted between 1997 and 2021, indicates that both low and high daily alcohol intake are associated with continuous increases in blood pressure levels.
The findings have significant implications for heart health.
The study involved nearly 20,000 adults from the United States, Korea, and Japan who had not previously been diagnosed with high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, or alcoholism. Participants were observed for periods ranging from four to 12 years.
Key findings from the study include:
Alcohol Intake vs. Blood Pressure: Participants who consumed an average of 12 grams of alcohol per day (approximately equivalent to 1.5 oz. of liquor or one 11 oz. beer) experienced a systolic blood pressure increase of 1.25 mmHg.
Consuming 48 grams per day led to a systolic blood pressure increase of 4.9 mmHg.
Consistent Association: The link between alcohol consumption and higher blood pressure levels was observed across all levels of alcohol intake, among both men and women, and in both North Americans and Asians.
Importance for Pre-Hypertensive Individuals: Individuals with slightly elevated blood pressure levels may benefit the most from minimizing or abstaining from alcohol.
The study found that those with initially higher blood pressure readings showed a stronger connection between alcohol intake and blood pressure changes over time.
Systolic vs. Diastolic Blood Pressure: Systolic blood pressure, which represents the force on artery walls during heart contractions, is a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease risk.
While diastolic blood pressure, which reflects the force between heartbeats, also increased with alcohol consumption, the effect was more pronounced in males.
The study’s findings underscore the potential impact of alcohol consumption on blood pressure and, consequently, cardiovascular health.
Even individuals who consume low levels of alcohol may experience adverse effects on blood pressure over time.
These findings emphasize the importance of considering alcohol intake when managing blood pressure and overall heart health.
While moderate alcohol consumption has been a topic of debate regarding its potential health benefits, this study suggests that the relationship between alcohol and blood pressure is more complex than previously thought.
It highlights the need for individuals, especially those with pre-existing blood pressure concerns, to be cautious about their alcohol consumption and consider lifestyle choices that promote cardiovascular health.
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The research findings can be found in the journal Hypertension.
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