Heavy Drinker? Even A Short-Term Cut Is Good

Published Online: Monday, July 1, 2002

A team of Japanese researchers reported in the American Journal of Hypertension (March 2002) that habitual heavy drinkers who cut their alcohol intake in half for as little as 3 weeks experienced a drop in both blood pressure and heart rate.

The study group consisted of men in their mid-30s who reported drinking alcohol (4 beers or 3 servings of sake) every evening. At random, half were asked to cut their alcohol consumption in half, while the others were asked to continue as usual. After 3 weeks, men in the reduced-consumption group showed a drop in daytime systolic blood pressure of about 4 points. (Diastolic pressure?the bottom number?did not change.) Pulse rates also dropped by 4 beats per minute in the daytime and 7 beats per minute at night.

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