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Drinking alcohol can increase blood pressure in most people.
Consuming more than 3 drinks in a single session can lead to a short-term increase in blood pressure.
Excessive alcohol consumption and repeated binge drinking can cause a long-term rise in blood pressure. This is known as chronic hypertension.
In both cases, systolic and diastolic blood pressure can reach unhealthy levels. These changed blood pressure levels put you at risk of heart-related complications. Other organ systems can become damaged as well.
Those who already have high blood pressure have an even higher risk of developing hypertension complications from excessive alcohol use.
Alcohol contains calories that contribute to fat deposition and unwanted weight gain. These metabolic factors increase the risk for high blood pressure.
Alcohol also interacts with certain blood pressure medications. This affects the level of medication in your body and increases side effects.
Everyone is at risk of developing high blood pressure from drinking any amount of alcohol, regardless of prior health status.
When your heart beats, it sends blood around your body to give it the nutrients and oxygen it needs. Pressure is required to make the blood circulate by pushing against the walls of your arteries.
Blood pressure is the product of the strength of the heart's pumping against the resistance in the walls of the arteries. A normal heart sends blood around the body easily at low pressure.
The higher tension there is in the artery walls, the higher the blood pressure.
High blood pressure means that your heart has to work harder. The arteries must carry blood flowing under greater pressure. This places a strain on your arteries and heart.
As such, there's a greater risk of:
You can't usually feel or notice high blood pressure because some people have no symptoms at all. Many people around the world are undiagnosed with this condition.
However, it's common with other metabolic problems like weight gain and obesity. This is because high blood pressure doesn't usually cause any noticeable symptoms.
Studies on the effects of alcohol on blood pressure are conflicting.
Some suggest that moderate alcohol consumption improves heart health. However, other studies show that moderate drinking can cause high blood pressure and other heart problems.7
Moderate alcohol usage is defined as 2 drinks or less in a day for men or 1 drink or less for women.8 Moderate drinking may increase your risk of developing long-term high blood pressure or chronic hypertension.
When people go from drinking heavily to drinking in moderation, their systolic and diastolic readings decrease.
However, heavy and binge drinking pose a more serious rise in blood pressure.
Moderate alcohol consumption may be allowable with certain high blood pressure medications. However, it's essential to consult a doctor or pharmacist first.
People shouldn't drink more than 14 units of alcohol in a week to keep health risks low.9 If you decide to drink, it's best to spread your drinks evenly throughout the week.
When you drink, be sure to consume a healthy meal before. Low-fat, low-salt snacks between drinks can also help reduce alcohol absorption. They help keep your blood pressure down as well.
Make sure you have several drink-free days a week.
Heart medications, particularly blood pressure medications, tend to interact negatively with alcohol.
Some people also experience lower blood pressure as a result of alcohol consumption. Put together, this can lead to dangerously low blood pressure levels when combined with hypertension medications.
The risk of developing severe hypertension or hypotension from mixing alcohol and high blood pressure medications should be taken seriously. Hypotension refers to dangerously low blood pressure.
There are several other cardiovascular risk factors for the heart from alcohol abuse.
Yes, to an extent. Short-term increases in blood pressure from binge drinking can reverse if someone stops drinking for a significant period.
Those with long-term blood pressure can reduce their blood pressure by switching heavy alcohol use to moderate use.
It is essential to regularly take your antihypertensive medications, too.
For acute increases, blood pressure should normalize within hours of someone's last drink. Acute increases usually occur from consuming excessive alcohol in a single sitting.
Long-term hypertension caused by heavy drinking takes much longer to reduce. This is because the body goes through an intense adjustment period.
Alcohol withdrawal can also cause high blood pressure, leading to a rapid rise before decreasing. Those who don't drink alcohol as heavily typically see their blood pressure normalize quicker after stopping alcohol use.
In studies, the only type of alcohol good for high blood pressure is non-alcoholic red wine.
Regular consumption can significantly reduce blood pressure in as little as 1 month.10
It might. One glass of wine per day typically won't affect blood pressure significantly.
However, there is no definite answer to this because research is still lacking.
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