The findings suggest that individuals who consume alcohol will have high blood pressure over time compared to non-drinkers.
New research published in Hypertension found that individuals who drink alcohol daily may have an increase in blood pressure even if they do not have a history of hypertension.
According to a news release, the health data were found from research conducted for more than 5 years across 7 studies that compared adults who consumed alcohol daily with non-drinkers. In the studies, 19,548 individuals were involved, including 65% men and ages ranging from 20 to early 70s. The studies were managed in the United States, Korea, and Japan.
Before the study began, the researchers verified the average amount the individuals drank, then translated that amount into a usual number of grams of alcohol consumed daily. The study said the researchers used the results from multiple studies to plot a curve of how certain amounts of alcohol consumed create changes in blood pressure with time.
The researchers found that individuals who drank around 12 grams of alcohol per day presented a rise in systolic blood pressure by 1.25 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and the diastolic blood pressure rose 1.14 mm Hg. Individuals who drank around 48 grams of alcohol per day had a rise in systolic blood pressure by 4.9 mm Hg and the diastolic blood pressure rose 3.1 mm Hg. However, the rise in diastolic pressure was seen in males, but not in females.
“We found participants with higher starting blood pressure readings had a stronger link between alcohol intake and blood pressure changes over time. This suggests that people with a trend towards increased (although still not ‘high’) blood pressure may benefit the most from low to no alcohol consumption,” said Paul K. Whelton, MD, MSc, Show Chwan Chair in Global Public Health in the department of epidemiology at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans and president of the World Hypertension League, in a press release.
The study noted that the participants did not have high blood pressure, but their blood pressure when starting was related to alcohol findings. Individuals who even drank 1 alcoholic beverage per day displayed higher blood pressure than those who do not drink.
“We were somewhat surprised to see that consuming an already-low level of alcohol was also linked to higher blood pressure changes over time compared to no consumption – although far less than the blood pressure increase seen in heavy drinkers,” said Marco Vinceti, MD, PhD, a professor of epidemiology and public health in the Medical School of the University of Modena, in the press release.
According to the news release, the American Heart Association recommends that if individuals do not currently drink, they should not begin. It does not recommend drinking for any form of health benefit.
“Alcohol is certainly not the sole driver of increases in blood pressure; however, our findings confirm it contributes in a meaningful way. Limiting alcohol intake is advised, and avoiding it is even better,” said Vinceti.
Routinely drinking alcohol may raise blood pressure even in adults without hypertension. EurekAlert!. News release. July 13, 2023. Accessed July 31, 2023. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/996904.