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Does Drinking Alcohol Raise Your Blood Pressure

What Is Blood Pressure

Does alcohol ACTUALLY raise your blood pressure?

Blood pressure is exactly what it sounds like: the pressure of your blood. Blood pressure is given in two numbers . This is because blood flows at two different pressures: A higher pressure occurs when the heart is contracting and forcing blood through the arteries, and a lower pressure occurs when the heart is relaxed. Both of these pressures are important, but the higher pressure tends to be the one that causes the most damage when it is elevated.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is very harmful because it causes microscopic damage to the lining of arteries. This causes scarring and hardening of the arteries and can eventually lead to blockages. These blockages can block blood flow to the heart , to the brain or to other essential organs. Heart attacks are the most common complication caused by hypertension. Hypertension can be especially deadly because people often dont realize they have it, as it doesnt cause any symptoms until a complication like a heart attack or stroke occurs. Because of this, hypertension has been called the silent killer.

Low blood pressure, or hypotension, is dangerous if blood pressure gets too low however, this usually only occurs due to disease or a large amount of blood loss. Unlike high blood pressure, low blood pressure does cause symptoms, such as dizziness and pale skin. Additionally, low blood pressure is usually not a long-term health problem like high blood pressure.

How Much Alcohol Can I Drink If I Have High Blood Pressure

Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. It may also lead to the development of high blood pressure. So to help prevent high blood pressure, if you drink alcohol, limit how much you drink to no more than two drinks a day if you are male. The “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” recommend that for overall health, women and lighter weight persons should limit their alcohol to no more than one drink a day.


This is what counts as a drink:

  • 1 1/2 ounces of 80-proof or 1 ounce of 100-proof whiskey
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 12 ounces of beer

You may have heard that some alcohol is good for your heart. Some studies suggest that people who consume a drink or two a day have lower blood pressure and live longer than those who consume excessive amounts of alcohol or no alcohol at all. Others note that wine raises the “good” blood cholesterol that prevents the build-up of fats in the arteries.

While these studies may be correct, they don’t tell the whole story. Too much alcohol contributes to a host of other health problems, such as motor vehicle accidents, diseases of the liver and pancreas, damage to the brain and heart, an increased risk of many cancers, and fetal alcohol syndrome. Alcohol is also high in calories. So you should limit how much you drink.

Alcohol And Heart Rate: Other Risks

Alcohol can also make your heart beat faster, regardless of how much alcohol you consume, says Guy L. Mintz, MD, director of cardiovascular health and lipidology at Northwell Health’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, New York. Your heart rate, or pulse, is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Elevated heart rate may travel with elevated blood pressure, he says.

This increase in heart rate can also lead to “holiday heart syndrome,” Dr. Mintz says. “In the 24 to 48 hours after you drink, you can experience irregular heartbeats.” This was first noticed in emergency rooms after New Year’s Eve, a night known for celebratory and sometimes excessive alcohol consumption.

There are other ways that drinking can affect your heart. “It has calories, and calories can cause weight gain and obesity, which will lead to high blood pressure,” Dr. Mintz says.

To lower any risks associated with overdoing it, the AHA suggests limiting your alcohol consumption to no more than:

  • 2 drinks a day for men.
  • 1 drink a day for women.

This is considered moderate alcohol intake. And what you drink matters. “Wine and spirits like whiskey or vodka are OK,” Dr. Mintz says. “Anything but beer is OK, as beer comes with a salt load that can cause high blood pressure and is high in calories.”

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Unexpected Results And Study Limitations

Sarah Samaan, MD, a cardiologist with Baylor Scott & White Legacy Heart Center in Plano, Texas, found the findings slightly surprising.

It’s not clear at what intervals the drinks were consumed, says Dr. Samaan. For some people, those drinks may all be consumed on the weekend, and we know that binge drinking raises blood pressure, even if it’s just a couple of days per week. Other studies have fairly conclusively found a link between heavier drinking and high blood pressure.

Because one drink per night may have a very different effect on blood pressure compared with four drinks two nights per week, Samann would like to see more research on the daily frequency of alcohol intake.

In addition, she notes that its uncertain how food choices and other behaviors might be affecting blood pressure outcomes.

As an observational study relying on self-reported alcohol use, the study is somewhat limited, according to Salim Virani, MD, a staff cardiologist at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston and chair of the ACCs Prevention Section and Leadership Council.

We know that patients may underreport their use of alcohol, so they may be using more alcohol than what they stated on the questionnaires, says Dr. Virani.

Samaan adds that more research is needed before strong recommendations can be made.

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Does Alcohol Raise Blood Pressure
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How Alcohol Interacts With Beta Blockers Like Metoprolol

Beta blockers are another common class of antihypertensives and include several medications, such as and . They work by slowing down your heart rate, making it easier for your heart to pump blood. Side effects like dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting are common.

Studies on how alcohol affects beta blockers are limited and dated, but most providers will tell you to avoid drinking while taking them. This medication class is considered more dangerous to mix with alcohol than other blood pressure medications. Not only are you likely to feel the side effects mentioned above more intensely, but theres also concern that alcohol makes beta blockers less effective at lowering blood pressure.

Why Does Alcohol Cause Hypertension

  • Why Does Alcohol Cause Hypertension? Center
  • Alcoholic beverages are regular drinks in most parts of the world. If consumed in little to moderate amounts, alcohol can be healthy for most individuals. However, drinking too much alcohol can create many problems including an increase in blood pressure. Having more than three drinks back-to-back can increase your blood pressure temporarily, but if you keep doing it frequently, you may develop a long-term condition called hypertension .

    How alcohol causes hypertension is still not confirmed. Research suggests that the following effects of alcohol on the body can cause high blood pressure.

    • Damage to the endothelium
    • Atherosclerosis
    • Effect on the nervous system
    • Changes in sensations of blood pressure receptors in the body
    • Increase in cortisol
    • Increased calcium levels in the walls of the arteries
    • Effect on hormones that constrict and relax the arteries

    Heavy alcohol drinking increases blood pressure by about 5 to 10 mmHg and the increase in systolic pressure is more than that in diastolic blood pressure.

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    Other Risks Of Alcohol Use

    Once enough alcohol has been removed from the body your liver will regain the ability to release sugar. If a diabetic drinks alcohol and takes insulin as their prescribed treatment they may experience hypoglycemia, low blood sugar. Some other diabetes medications work to also lower blood glucose levels by stimulating the pancreas to make more insulin.

    Looking to start a diet to better manage your high blood pressure? However, a 2018 study suggests that no amount of alcohol is safe to drink. McCarthy WJ, Arpawong TE, Dietsch BJ, Yancey AK. Effects of exercise and weight loss on hypertension. Sessa WC, Pritchard K, Seyedi N, Wang J, Hintze TH. Chronic exercise in dogs increases coronary vascular nitric oxide production and endothelial cell nitric oxide synthase gene expression. Johnson RA, Freeman RH. Sustained hypertension in the rat induced by chronic blockade of nitric oxide production. Slomiany BL, Piotrowski J, Slomiany A. Alterations in buccal mucosal endothelin-1 and nitric oxide synthase with chronic alcohol ingestion.

    But if youre younger than 50, particularly if youre a woman, its not so clear. Studies have shown a rise in breast cancer risk in women under 50 from drinking alcohol.

    Just 1 Drink A Day May Increase High Blood Pressure Risk

    Does Alcohol Raise Your Blood Pressure

    Moderate alcohol consumption is thought to be heart healthy, but a new study suggests that the truth is more complicated.

    Drinking alcohol, even in moderation, may increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, say researchers.

    Yes, this is the same moderate that weve been told many times before is heart healthy.

    While earlier research has suggested that light and moderate alcohol consumption reduces the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, a new study has a different finding.

    This study certainly adds a twist to the notion that moderate alcohol consumption is beneficial for cardiovascular health, said Dr. Gregory Marcus, director of clinical research, Division of Cardiology, at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the study.

    National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1988 and 1994.

    People in the study reported their drinking behavior on several questionnaires. Study staff also measured participants blood pressure at home or at a mobile examination center.

    Researchers studied over 17,000 people and found those who consumed 7 to 13 drinks of alcohol per week were 53 percent more likely to have stage 1 hypertension, compared to nondrinkers.

    Heavy drinkers more than 14 drinks per week were 69 percent more likely to have stage 1 hypertension than nondrinkers. One standard drink contains about 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol.

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    With Blood Pressure In Mind Is There A Safe Amount Of Alcohol To Drink

    According to the American Heart Association , women should stick to no more than 1 drink per day and men should stick to no more than 2 drinks per day. If youre wondering whats considered 1 drink, here are the guidelines:

    • 12 oz beer

    • 1.5 oz of 80-proof alcohol

    • 1 oz of 100-proof alcohol

    If you struggle with alcohol abuse or addiction, you can find helpful resources through the American Addiction Centers.

    Reduce Your Risk Of Hypertension

    Hypertension is one of the most preventable alcohol-related problems. Drinking less alcohol lowers your blood pressure.

    Reducing the amount you drink can help you lose weight. This is also good for heart health.

    Hypertension causes most problems when its left untreated. Get your blood pressure checked regularly so that you can get treatment if you need it.

    Your GP or pharmacist can check your blood pressure.

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    How Does Alcohol Affect Blood Pressure

    Numerous studies on high blood pressure and its risk factors have revealed a close link between the disease and alcohol consumption.

    While consuming more than three drinks at one time causes a temporary rise in blood pressure, chronic binge drinking appears to result in long-term spikes.

    Researchers believe that blood pressure rises by about 1 mm Hg per every 10 grams of alcohol consumed. Two to four weeks of abstinence will return levels to normal.

    However, the question, How does alcohol increase blood pressure? has yet to be answered with scientific certainty. A comprehensive review published in the World Journal of Cardiology in 2014 attempted to show cause.

    Possible contributing factors include a disruption of the central nervous system a malfunction of the baroreceptors, which regulate blood pressure overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system acceleration of the renin-angiotensin system heightened cortisol levels a rise in vascular activity and inflammation and oxidative stress within the blood vessel walls.

    Which Alcohol Is Good For Blood Pressure

    The Relationship Between Alcohol Use

    The assertion that red wine is beneficial for heart health may be a myth linkage between red wine consumption and heart health has been shown to be caused by other lifestyle factors. However, other research states that moderation is key.

    In most places with sustained red wine consumption, such as France and northern Spain, wine is typically a part of a well-balanced meal. It is more common to see red wine paired with salads and heart-healthy food than greasy fast food, which likely accounts for much of the findings on blood pressure in those who regularly drink red wine.

    Red wine is also less likely to be consumed in excess when paired with food and treated as an integral part of a balanced diet. Drinking one glass of wine several times per week is less damaging to the heart than consuming multiple glasses in one sitting.

    Aside from this beverage, there has been no evidence that any other alcoholic drinks provide any type of benefit for blood pressure. In fact, in all other cases, alcohol has been shown to increase blood pressure, which can lead to heart problems and other long-term health concerns.

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    How Alcohol Interacts With Arbs Like Losartan

    Angiotensin II receptor blockers are another first-choice option for treating hypertension. ARBs are sometimes prescribed to people when they experience a dry, nagging cough while taking ACE inhibitors. Within this class of medications, the most commonly taken is losartan.

    Currently, there is no research available on how alcohol affects ARBs. But, the general consensus from most providers is that moderate drinking on a regular basis will cause your blood pressure to rise, making it harder for these medications to do their job.

    Does Alcohol Interfere With Blood Pressure

    A study in the journal Circulation found that alcohol could derail the bodys ability to maintain healthy blood pressure. After drinking alcohol, people have wider blood vessels, so lower blood pressure. These changes impair the bodys ability to pump fresh blood to the brain, causing dizziness.

    Alcohol interferes with the livers ability to metabolize hormones renin and angiotensin, which are important for blood pressure control. Additionally, alcohol interferes with steroid production responsible for maintaining blood pressure.

    Reduce or eliminate alcohol correlates with elevated blood pressure. Alcohol puts stress on the liver and reduces its ability to detoxify the blood, causing more oxidized and damaging substances in the circulation harming blood vessels. Additionally, if the liver is busy processing alcohol, it is unable to handle fats causing elevated cholesterol levels.

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    Drink The Right Amount Of Water

    When it comes to drinking water, the most common suggestion is eight 8-oz. glasses per day. However, as a more personal approach, divide your body weight by two, and aim to drink that amount in ounces daily.

    For instance, a 200-pound person should consume about 100 ounces of water daily. Drinking a glass of water before taking a bath can also help flush toxins from the body and reduce blood pressure.

    Study Among The First To Suggest Moderate Drinking Harms Rather Than Protects Heart Health

    Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Your Blood Pressure
    American College of Cardiology
    A study of more than 17,000 US adults shows that moderate alcohol consumption — seven to 13 drinks per week — substantially raises one’s risk of high blood pressure, or hypertension, according to new research.

    A study of more than 17,000 U.S. adults shows that moderate alcohol consumption — seven to 13 drinks per week — substantially raises one’s risk of high blood pressure, or hypertension, according to research being presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 68th Annual Scientific Session.

    The findings contrast with some previous studies that have associated moderate drinking with a lower risk of some forms of heart disease. Most previous studies, however, have not assessed high blood pressure among moderate drinkers. Since hypertension is a leading risk factor for heart attack and stroke, the new study calls into question the notion that moderate alcohol consumption benefits heart health.

    “I think this will be a turning point for clinical practice, as well as for future research, education and public health policy regarding alcohol consumption,” said Amer Aladin, MD, a cardiology fellow at Wake Forest Baptist Health and the study’s lead author. “It’s the first study showing that both heavy and moderate alcohol consumption can increase hypertension.”

    Aladin will present the study, “Alcohol Consumption and Risk of Hypertension,” on Sunday, March 17.

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    Drinks High In Tyramine

    Tyramine 1 is an amino acid that helps regulate blood pressure. It can trigger nerve cells to release norepinephrine, a hormone that increases the heart rate and blood pressure 2.

    A large dietary intake of tyramine can cause the tyramine pressor response, defined as an increase in systolic blood pressure of 30 mm Hg or more. This is especially dangerous if youre taking Monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

    Therefore, what drinks contain a high amount of tyramine? Drinks high in Tyramine include:

    • Fermented alcohol
    • Sherry
    • Vermouth

    The fermented alcohol, vermouth and tap beer contain more tyramine than the others. Its safer to drink the others in moderation.


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