AlcoholRehabHelp Logo
AlcoholRehabHelp Logo
Alcohol & Health
Helping Alcoholics
Where Does My Call Go?
Updated on September 15, 2023
5 min read

Understanding the Effects of Alcohol on Blood Pressure

Can You Get High Blood Pressure From Drinking Alcohol?

Yes, consuming more than three drinks in a single session can lead to a short-term increase in blood pressure. Doing so can also cause long-term high blood pressure or chronic hypertension.

Systolic blood pressure measures the pressure when your heart beats. Diastolic blood pressure measures the tension in your arteries when your heart rests between beats. Alcohol can cause both systolic and diastolic blood pressure to reach unhealthy levels.

Everyone is at risk of developing high blood pressure from drinking any amount of alcohol, regardless of prior health status. However, you risk developing hypertension complications if you already have high blood pressure.

Factors Amplifying Alcohol's Impact on Blood Pressure

Other factors that cause alcohol to increase your blood pressure include:

  • Increased weight gain and fat deposition
  • Interaction with certain blood pressure medications

Online Therapy Can Help

Over 3 million people use BetterHelp. Their services are:

  • Professional and effective
  • Affordable and convenient
  • Personalized and discreet
  • Easy to start
Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

online consultation

What is High Blood Pressure?

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body, supplying it with essential nutrients and oxygen. This process relies on maintaining pressure, as the blood circulates by exerting force against the artery walls.

Blood pressure is the force the heart exerts as it pushes blood through the arteries. A healthy heart efficiently circulates blood throughout the body at a manageable pressure.

When the arteries have greater resistance, the blood pressure rises. This elevated pressure places additional strain on the heart, requiring it to work harder.

What are the Risks of High Blood Pressure?

When you have high blood pressure, your arteries must carry blood flowing under greater pressure. This can place a strain on your arteries and heart, which increases the risk of:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Peripheral artery disease

High blood pressure often goes unnoticed as it typically produces no noticeable symptoms. This leads to many people remaining undiagnosed with this condition. However, it commonly coexists with other metabolic issues like weight gain and obesity.

Switching from heavy or binge drinking to moderate drinking can decrease your systolic and diastolic readings.7 However, studies on the effects of alcohol on blood pressure are conflicting.

How Does Moderate Drinking Affect Blood Pressure?

Men should limit their daily alcohol consumption to two drinks or less. On the other hand, women should only have one drink or fewer per day.8

Some suggest moderate alcohol consumption improves heart health. Other studies show moderate drinking can cause:7

  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic hypertension
  • Heart problems

Moderate alcohol consumption may be allowed with certain high blood pressure medications. Always consult a doctor or pharmacist first.


BetterHelp can Help

They’ll connect you to an addiction and mental health counselor

Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

Better Help Logo

How to Stay in Control of Your Drinking

Avoid drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol weekly to keep health risks low.9 If you decide to drink, it's best to spread your consumption evenly throughout the week.

Have a wholesome meal beforehand to make the most of your drinking sessions. Additionally, incorporate low-fat, low-salt snacks between drinks to reduce alcohol absorption and maintain healthy blood pressure.

For optimal health, ensure you have several alcohol-free days each week.


Thinking about Getting Help?

BetterHelp offers affordable mental health care via phone, video, or live-chat.

Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

Better Help Logo

Alcohol and High Blood Pressure Medications

Heart medications, particularly blood pressure medications, interact negatively with alcohol. Mixing alcohol and anti-hypertensive medication can increase the risk of developing hypertension or hypotension.

Pay attention to hypotension, a condition of dangerously low blood pressure. Both hypotension and hypertension demand careful consideration. This is particularly crucial for those experiencing low blood pressure due to alcohol intake.

Other Heart Risks of Heavy Alcohol Use

Several other cardiovascular risk factors increase with alcohol abuse. These include:

  • Tachycardia: An increased heart rate that causes symptoms like anxiety and concentration issues
  • Cardiomyopathy: A condition that affects heart function and blood vessels
  • Cardiac arrest: Commonly known as a heart attack
  • Heart failure: Occurs when the heart muscles cannot properly pump blood

Alcohol abuse is a contributor to ischemic heart disease. It's a condition where certain heart regions are deprived of adequate blood supply due to blockages in the blood vessels. People with a family history of cardiovascular or coronary heart disease are particularly susceptible to this condition.


Heavy alcohol consumption can cause high blood pressure. Factors like weight gain and interactions with certain medications also worsen blood pressure levels.

Moderate drinking falls within recommended weekly amounts, whereas heavy drinking is hazardous. Stick to one drink or fewer per day for women and two drinks or less daily for men.

It's also important to consider the other heart risks of heavy alcohol use. People with pre-existing conditions should be particularly careful when consuming alcohol. Always consult your doctor regarding the best treatment for high blood pressure and alcohol consumption.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is high blood pressure due to alcohol consumption reversible?

Absolutely, although it depends on the duration and severity of the alcohol consumption. Short-term spikes in blood pressure due to binge drinking are reversible if you abstain from alcohol for a considerable period.

Those with long-term high blood pressure can lower their blood pressure levels by transitioning from heavy alcohol consumption to moderate use. Furthermore, it's crucial to consistently take antihypertensive medications to effectively manage blood pressure.

How long does it take blood pressure to go down after stopping alcohol use?

For acute increases, blood pressure should normalize within hours after your last drink. Acute increases usually occur from consuming excessive alcohol in a single sitting.

Long-term hypertension due to 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.

Which alcohol is good for high blood pressure?

No type of alcohol is "good" for high blood pressure. However, regular consumption of non-alcoholic red wine can significantly reduce blood pressure in as little as one month.10 

Can one glass of red wine a day affect blood pressure?

Possibly. A moderate daily red wine intake typically won't significantly affect blood pressure. Nonetheless, the existing research on this topic is limited, leaving no clear-cut answer.

Updated on September 15, 2023
10 sources cited
Updated on September 15, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. “Alcohol’s Effects on the Body.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2021.

  2. “Harmful Interactions.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2014.

  3. “Alcohol and Substance Misuse.” Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018.

  4. Husain et al. “Alcohol-induced hypertension: Mechanism and prevention.” World Journal of Cardiology, 2014.

  5. High blood pressure (hypertension), Mayo Clinic, 2022.

  6. Santana et al. “Consumption of alcohol and blood pressure: Results of the ELSA-Brasil study.” PLOS One, 2018.

  7. Chase, B. "More evidence moderate drinking is good for your heart. Also: a reason." The Harvard Gazette, 2023.

  8. "Dietary Guidelines for Alcohol." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022.

  9. "The Risks of Drinking Too Much." National Health Service, 2022.

  10. Chiva-Blanch et al. “Dealcoholized red wine decreases systolic and diastolic blood pressure and increases plasma nitric oxide: short communication.” Circulation Research, 2012.

AlcoholRehabHelp Logo
All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
© 2024 by Treatment Pathway LLC. All rights reserved.
Back to top icon
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram