Author: John Carter

How does alcohol affect blood pressure?

does alcohol affect bp

Individuals who drink alcohol in excess can help improve their overall health by stopping drinking. One recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that in 17,059 participants, those who drank moderately and those who drank heavily were both at significantly higher risk of high blood pressure than those who never drank. It also regulates metabolism, immune function, and inflammatory pathways. Alcohol increases blood levels of the hormone renin, which causes the blood vessels to constrict. The unit of measurement for blood pressure is millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

This is especially true in light of the relationship between a sensor of stress (mTOR) and nutrient deprivation and how essential autophagy is to cell survival. As noted above, chronic alcohol exposure leads to a decrease in mTOR activity, which corresponds to increased markers of autophagy (Lang and Korzick 2014). The autophagy pathway also is rapidly upregulated during ATP depletion, mitochondrial dysfunction, and oxidative stress. Ethanol-mediated increases in autophagy therefore may be an important mechanism underlying the adverse myocardial effects of ethanol.

Differences among results from human studies may relate to small sample sizes, duration of drinking, and degree of myocardial dysfunction. In the Miró study, alcohol drinkers also had been receiving pharmacologic treatments such as beta-adrenergic blocking agents that reduce blood pressure and also may have antioxidant effects. Data from transgenic animal models and pharmacologic approaches strongly support a role for ethanol-induced oxidative stress in CV disease. In addition, there was no evidence of nitrative damage in mice bred to disrupt (i.e., knock out) the gene for angiotensin I receptor (AT1-KO) that had been given ethanol for a similar length of time (Tan et al. 2012). Both experimental approaches also prevented accumulation of ethanol-induced scarring (collagen and fibronectin); apoptotic cell death; and changes in the size, shape, and function of the heart after injury to heart muscle (ventricular remodeling). It is important to note that, unlike other studies with more discrete alcohol consumption categories, alcohol use was nonspecifically defined in INTERHEART as the consumption of at least 1 alcoholic beverage within the previous 12 months (Leong et al. 2014).

The impact of high blood pressure and risk factors

Some data relied on self-reporting; further data could include more diverse samples. Nevertheless, there is much evidence that the moderate consumption of alcohol is beneficial for cardiovascular health, beginning from the “French Paradox” – the finding of reduced ischemic heart disease (IHD) among those who regularly drink red wine. More contemporary studies have not found evidence of mitochondrial injury in biopsy samples from long-term alcohol drinkers (Miró et al. 2000).

  1. Recent data suggest that moderate and heavy drinking contributes to high blood pressure in men and women.
  2. It also regulates metabolism, immune function, and inflammatory pathways.
  3. The regular consumption of over 30 g/day of alcohol increases hypertension risk in linear proportion to the dosage and may independently cause cardiac damage in hypertensive patients.
  4. Altered platelet responses (e.g., increased platelet activation/aggregation) leads to blood-clot formation (or thrombosis) in certain CV conditions.
  5. Liji practiced as a full-time consultant in obstetrics/gynecology in a private hospital for a few years following her graduation.

Some investigators have suggested that drinking wine may offer more protection against CV disease because it contains polyphenols, such as resveratrol and flavonoids, which are micronutrients with antioxidant activity (Tangney and Rasmussen 2013). However, among studies designed to examine the influence of beverage type, no differences have been found in CV disease outcomes or biologic markers, such as HDL-c (Mukamal et al. 2003a; Volcik et al. 2008). Differential associations of CV risk with certain beverage types such as wine instead have been attributable to other lifestyle factors (e.g., increased physical activity) or drinking with meals (Malarcher et al. 2001). Risk factors for high blood pressure include smoking, eating a diet high in sodium, and low physical activity levels. However, current recommendations like those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) focus on limiting alcohol to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. Another study, this time in the Journal of the American Heart Association, indicates that binge drinking increases blood pressure levels in men but not women.

Derangements in Fatty Acid Metabolism and Transport

Talk to your healthcare provider to discuss your risk factors and if it is safe for you to drink alcohol, even in moderation. Older studies had shown potential benefits of moderate drinking of red wine, but more recently it has been proven that no level of alcohol consumption is considered safe, or can reduce the risk of hypertension. If you have high blood pressure, it’s important to discuss any risk factors with your healthcare provider, including alcohol consumption.

does alcohol affect bp

Low-to-moderate levels of alcohol consumption may initially improve endothelial function, whereas high daily levels and binge drinking may impair it. Above 14 drinks a week, heart failure risk is higher, with hypertensive patients who drink more being more likely to show subclinical features of heart damage affecting the heart’s diastolic function. This is a dose-dependent association, as is that with left ventricular hypertrophy.

How alcohol affects blood pressure

Our mission is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. As we move into the second century of our work, we are advancing health and hope for everyone, everywhere. If cutting back on alcohol is hard for you to do on your own, ask your health care professional about getting help. © Copyright 2024 Healthgrades Marketplace, LLC, Patent US Nos. 7,752,060 and 8,719,052.

However, researchers are still seeking to understand the full impact of certain risk factors. Consuming alcohol can increase the risk of high blood pressure and other metabolic conditions in several ways. For example, alcohol can affect calcium levels, cortisol levels, and baroreceptor sensitivity, all of which can lead to increases in blood pressure. If a person thinks that they might be consuming alcohol at a rate that would classify as moderate drinking, heavy drinking, or binge drinking, they should consider cutting back to improve their overall health and well-being.

Alcohol’s Effects on Blood Pressure and Incident Hypertension

One common risk factor for CV disease is the composition of the lipids found in the blood, and the effects of alcohol consumption on lipid profiles have been extensively studied. Many researchers have found that alcohol intake increases HDL cholesterol (HDL-c) levels, HDL (“good cholesterol”) particle concentration, apolipoprotein A-I, and HDL-c subfractions (Gardner et al. 2000; Muth et al. 2010; Vu et al. 2016). Findings have been equivocal for other lipids, such as low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) (the estimated amount of cholesterol within LDL particles, or “bad cholesterol”) and triglyceride levels (Rimm et al. 1999; Volcik et al. 2008; Waskiewicz and Sygnowska 2013). High triglyceride levels in the blood stream have been linked to atherosclerosis and, by extension, increased risk of CHD and stroke. However, in a recently conducted Mendelian randomization study, Vu and colleagues (2016) reported that low-to-moderate alcohol consumption reduced triglyceride and LDL-c and increased HDL-c, in particular the HDL2-c subfraction. Interestingly, the researchers found a nonlinear effect of alcohol consumption on HDL2-c levels.

To prevent various health complications, including high blood pressure, people should try to limit their alcohol consumption to one or two glasses infrequently. The type of alcoholic beverage also determines the impact on health, with red wine being considered healthy, for instance, due to the high polyphenol content. Most importantly, masked hypertension, where patients are hypertensive at home but not in the doctor’s office, is as serious a health risk as sustained hypertension. They do not pass readily through cell membranes, and they are major components of very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDLs), which are converted in the blood to LDLs. High levels of triglycerides in the blood have therefore been linked to atherosclerosis, heart disease, and stroke.

Completely refraining from consuming alcohol lowers the risk of some of the health risks listed above. Although some of those effects can occur without alcohol consumption, avoiding alcohol helps decrease the risks. Moreover, not only does drinking cause elevated blood pressure, but in excess, it can directly enhance the damage caused to cardiac and renal tissues by hypertension. Some scientists suggest a J-shaped curve between alcohol and CVD, but this remains a hypothesis.

Several studies and meta-analyses have been conducted to determine the relationship between alcohol consumption and the risk of developing heart failure in healthy subjects, as well as in those with a history of MI or CHD. Studies also have examined the “safety” of alcoholic beverage consumption in subjects with heart failure. Several reports indicate that alcohol first exerts a seemingly positive effect, followed by a more negative impact (i.e., it is biphasic) on the endothelial–nitric oxide–generating system. Endothelial dysfunction is an early indicator of blood vessel damage and atherosclerosis, as well as a strong prognostic factor for future CV events (Deanfield et al. 2007; Ras et al. 2013).

This article explains the connection between alcohol and hypertension, explores the effects of different types of alcohol, and discusses safe alcohol consumption. The findings of this review support the current recommendations to avoid alcohol. The regular consumption of over 30 g/day of alcohol increases hypertension risk in linear proportion to the dosage and may independently cause cardiac damage in hypertensive patients. Finally, in studies of people from certain Eastern European countries, investigators have failed to find a cardioprotective effect with any level of ethanol consumption (Britton and McKee 2000).

Systolic pressure is the pressure within the arteries of the heart when the heart contracts, and diastolic pressure refers to the lowest pressure in the arteries when the heart is relaxing between contractions. An interview with Dr. Sara Naseri, the CEO and Co-Founder of the women’s health company, Qvin. Dr. Liji Thomas is an OB-GYN, who graduated from the Government Medical College, University of Calicut, Kerala, in 2001.