What Cardiovascular Diseases Can Alcohol Cause
Your heart muscle needs oxygen so it can keep pumping. A heart attack is when an artery supplying oxygen to the heart muscle is reduced or cut off completely, preventing the heart muscle receiving oxygen. The blood flow to the heart can be blocked due to a gradual build up of plaque, fat and cholesterol that cause a narrowing of the coronary arteries.Alcohol consumption can raise the levels of fat in the blood. People with high triglycerides often have high levels of bad cholesterol and low levels of good cholesterol. High levels of bad cholesterol can clog arteries and if a piece of plaque breaks off, a clot forms and a heart attack can result.
Alcohol consumption can increase the risk of two types of strokes occurring. Both result in a disrupted blood flow to brain tissue, and can result in a loss of motor and sensory functions. A stroke can also damage other systems in the body including the skeletal, muscular, respiratory, digestive and urinary systems. 29
This is when an artery supplying blood to the brain tissue is blocked. This blockage can result from a clot that has formed in the artery or from a foreign body that has broken off that becomes lodged in the artery, blocking it.30
Alcohol increases the risk of ischemic stroke because it can:
This results from an artery supplying brain tissue, tearing and bleeding.31
Endothelium And Oxidative Stress
The cells within the inner linings of the blood vessels, known as endothelium cells, may be directly affected by levels of oxidative stress rising due to alcohol-induced blood pressure.
As excessive alcohol consumption may cause inflammation of the endothelium cells, the blood vessels lose elasticity as constriction of the passages is stimulated. The production of nitric oxide, required by endothelium cells, may be reduced.
Does Alcohol Raise Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that continued alcohol use across several days creates a more sustained rise in blood pressure.6Because of this, consistent binge drinking and long-term heavy drinking, can lead to chronic hypertensionitself a risk factor for coronary artery disease.1
According to the journal Atherosclerosis, scientists found that binge drinking increased the development of atherosclerosis, or the hardening and narrowing of arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.8
Alcohol is high in calories and sugar. Alcohol-associated increases in body weight and obesity can further elevate the risk of high blood pressure on a long-term basis.3,9,11
Previous studies have also demonstrated that a higher BMI is associated with atherosclerosis which could compound the risks of stroke or heart attack.10
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How To Tell If You Have High Blood Pressure
Due to the lack of noticeable symptoms, hypertension is a silent health condition. The only way of knowing if theres a problem is to have your blood pressure measured. You can have this done at your GP surgery, some local pharmacies, or you can buy a blood pressure monitor from the chemist.
A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers or levels, the systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure: unless your doctor tells you otherwise, your blood pressure should be below 140/90mmHg5.
Alcohol: Does It Affect Blood Pressure
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jan 16, 2021.
Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure to unhealthy levels. Having more than three drinks in one sitting temporarily raises your blood pressure, but repeated binge drinking can lead to long-term increases.
To understand how much alcohol is too much and how cutting back can lower your blood pressure, it may be helpful to know the definitions of excessive drinking.
- Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks within two hours for women and five or more drinks within two hours for men.
- Moderate drinking is up to one drink a day for women, two for men.
- Heavy drinking is more than three drinks a day for women, four for men.
Heavy drinkers who cut back to moderate drinking can lower their top number in a blood pressure reading by about 5.5 millimeters of mercury and their bottom number by about 4 mm Hg.
If you have high blood pressure, avoid alcohol or drink alcohol only in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men.
A drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.
Keep in mind that alcohol contains calories and may contribute to unwanted weight gain a risk factor for high blood pressure Also, alcohol can interact with certain blood pressure medications, affecting the level of the medication in your body or increasing side effects.
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Considerations With Alcohol And Blood Pressure Medications
If you are taking blood pressure medications and plan on having alcohol, it is best to first speak to your doctor to find out if this will cause problems. All medications react differently with alcohol. You should never assume that even a small amount of alcohol is safe until you have first talked to your physician.
Central Nervous System In Alcohol
The World hypertension League speculated that the relatively greater effect alcohol on systolic blood pressure compared with diastolic blood pressure may indicate an imbalance between central nervous system factors influencing cardiac output and the peripheral vascular effects of alcohol. There is increasing evidence that alcohol initiates central as well as peripheral reactions which in a synergistic manner have a hypertensive action. In addition, alcohol induces an increased sympathetic outflow, most probably linked to secretion of corticotropin-releasing hormone. Some investigators have suggested that the association between alcohol and hypertension is related to the temporal sequence of alcohol use and blood pressure measurement. Since many community programs require an overnight or twelve-hour fasting period, alcohol withdrawal, albeit subclinical, may be occurring. Similarly, patients may abstain or diminish alcohol intake before visiting a clinic or physician. Thus, the observed elevations in blood pressure could be due to excessive central-nervous-system excitability and adrenergic discharge associated with the withdrawal period.
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Can Withdrawal From Alcohol Cause High Blood Pressure
Limiting or avoiding the use of alcohol in any amount can notably improve ones health, as the risk for all cardiovascular conditions drop.
Refraining from alcohol consumption is one way to address high blood pressure for some patients. This method can produce alcohol withdrawal syndrome symptoms, which include a rise in blood pressure.
While it is a temporary symptom, the sudden increase in blood pressure can be accompanied by other symptoms.
Those who consume excessive amounts of alcohol may see a decrease in blood pressure levels after the short-term spike, according to one study.
The study focused on patients blood pressure levels after a period of 48 hours without alcohol consumption. The participants with a temporary rise in blood pressure saw mild to severe symptoms including confusion, seizures, high fever, and hallucinations. These symptoms, along with a higher blood pressure reading, lasted for up to 12 days.
Warnings With Amlodipine And Alcohol
Amlodipine is a blood pressure medication that decreases the excitability of the heart muscle. It keeps the contractions of the heart from being too intense or frequent. Alcohol can increase the effect of amlodipine, as well as lower your blood pressure even further. Alcohol intake on this medication can increase dizziness and fainting.
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A Note For Red Wine Lovers
Research has not proven that wine is linked to lowering blood pressure, says James Beckerman, MD, a cardiologist at the Providence St. Vincent Heart Clinic in Portland, OR.
A Dutch study showed that heart-healthy nutrients called polyphenols in red wine help prevent heart disease, but not because of a drop in blood pressure. Research shows that the polyphenols improve the cells lining the blood vessels, and do improve blood flow and heart health. The jury is still out, though, on whether this could potentially improve high blood pressure in severe cases.
Klatsky agrees. âOne glass of red wine isnât going to improve your blood pressure,â he says. âUltimately, itâs lifestyle changes: low salt, optimal weight and exercise, and medication if necessary.â
Do you shudder at the thought of giving up your vino altogether? If youâve been advised against drinking for very high blood pressure, there may be salvation in one kind of wine: nonalcoholic.
One study found that three glasses of nonalcoholic red wine a day over a month led to a significant drop in blood pressure in men with heart disease risk factors. But men who drank red wine with alcohol, or 3 ounces of gin, had no change in their blood pressure. Researchers think that the alcohol in the wine weakens any antioxidant benefit to blood pressure.
Red Wine And Blood Pressure
Red wine contains an antioxidant called resveratrol, which some studies have shown reduces cholesterol and lowers blood pressure.
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.
Purpose Of Blood Pressure Medication
For those who suffer from high blood pressure, exercise and diet may not be enough to control it. You may need to be prescribed a medication that helps to keep it lowered. There are several medications that fall into this category, and it all depends on your condition and which medication the doctor thinks will work best for you. High blood pressure medication helps to keep your blood pressure in normal range, which should be around 120/80 or lower. Anything higher can be considered either pre-hypertension or hypertension.
Did You Know That Red Wine Is Not Good For You
Australias Heart Foundation advises against the consumption of red wine, and other types of alcoholic beverages, to prevent or treat cardiovascular disease.32
The World Health Organisation strengthens this, by recommending eating a healthier diet and being physically active would be more effective in reducing the death from ischemic heart disease than by drinking a low dose of alcohol. 34
The facts and figures.
In 2014, alcohol-related stroke hospitalisation in Western Australia cost 1.2 million.35
It is estimated that 1 person per month died from alcohol-related stroke in Western Australia.36
In 2014 the estimated number of alcohol-related stroke hospitalisations was 59.37
Does Alcohol Lower Blood Pressure
Can alcohol lower blood pressure? This may seem unlikely but, it has been confirmed that moderate intake is deemed beneficial. Does alcohol lower blood pressure temporarily? It is possible to lower pressure by 2 to 4mm Hg, but this means low quantities.
The key is the term moderate:
- Men under retirement age two drinks per day
- Men over retirement age one drink per day
- Women irrespective of age one drink per day
Research indicates that the risk of coronary heart disease lessens when moderate levels of drink are consumed. An individual with hypertension can rapidly reverse the condition through stopping drinking. Alcoholism plays a factor in this. Consider the impact of alcohol withdrawal and blood pressure and the results are encouraging. By gradually withdrawing from this addictive substance, hypertension may be helped.
Alcohol Consumption For Someone With Low Blood Pressure
Someone with low blood pressure should still try to limit their alcohol use and should never use alcohol as a way of treating low blood pressure. Some people may have blood pressure that is naturally lower than normal, but these individuals can still develop high blood pressure from alcohol use.
Ideally, people with low blood pressure who use alcohol should consult a doctor to learn what is best for their specific situation. Additionally, they should follow the recommendation of no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.
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Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Regularly drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure over time.
Staying within the recommended levels is the best way to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure:
- men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week
- spread your drinking over 3 days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week
Moderate To Heavy Drinking May Raise Womens Blood Pressure
By Kathryn Doyle, Reuters Health
5 Min Read
– Just two drinks a day could raise a womans blood pressure enough to put her at risk for hypertension, Australian researchers say.
Past studies have shown that drinking alcohol raises mens blood pressure, but results for women have been mixed. In the new trial, when women had 14 to 21 standard servings of red wine each week they had higher pressure than when they drank less or consumed non-alcoholic wine.
If are not drinking within national guidelines when drinking they should cut down, switch to non-alcoholic drinks after reaching this level, said Dr. Barbara J. Turner, director of the Research to Advance Community Health Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, by email.
It is worth paying attention to the long term effects of higher blood pressure levels because hypertension is the most common cause of heart disease, said Turner, who was not involved in the new study.
Researchers at the University of Western Australia in Perth recruited 24 healthy women to test the effects of varying amounts of alcohol on 24-hour blood pressure.
The women were aged 24 to 49, and most were wine drinkers. Researchers measured the participants normal blood pressure before the study period. Then they divided women into two groups higher-level and lower-level drinkers – based on how much each woman said she typically drank. There were no non-drinkers among the participants.
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Alcohol And Blood Pressure
A 2018 study, echoed by the World Health Organization , concluded that no amount of alcohol is safe for consumption, as alcohol leads to a loss of healthy life. Drinking frequently or binging on a large amount of alcohol in a small period of time can lead to health problems.
Drinking alcohol may also increase blood pressure for a short amount of time even in healthy people. If you drink too much over time, chronic hypertension can develop.
How To Drink Less Alcohol
Start by working out how much you drink in the average week and see if its under 14 units. Then follow these tips to help you have a good night out, or in, without having to worry about your blood pressure.
Even if you are drinking less than the recommended limit, you can still benefit from drinking a little less.
Here are some ideas to help you cut back:
- Try low-alcohol options there are a number of lower-strength beers and wines on the market.
- Choose bottles instead of pints and small glasses instead of large ones.
- Check the label many drinks’ labels now tell you how many units they contain, and how many calories.
- Make your drinks last longer add mixers or water.
- Alternate with soft drinks drink a soft drink or a glass of water between alcoholic drinks.
- Avoid bar snacks like crisps and peanuts the added salt will make you want to drink more, and will raise your blood pressure.
- Have alcohol free days spread your drinks out throughout the week, and have days off.
- Buy a measure If you drink at home, use a measure so that you know how much you are drinking.
- Watch out for large wine glasses and tumblers and for generous serving staff refilling your drinks without asking!
Drinking less is good for your heart, liver, blood pressure and your risk of stroke, and it could improve your mood and help you sleep better so you wake up full of beans.
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How To Reduce High Blood Pressure
You can lower your blood pressure by making changes to your lifestyle:
- Cut down on alcohol. Alcohol can have a serious long-term effect on blood pressure and research has shown that heavy drinking can lead to increased risk of hypertension for both men and women6.
- Healthy diet and exercise help to lower blood pressure
- Keep caffeine to a minimum: it can temporarily raise your heart rate and your blood pressure. If you regularly have more than four cups a day, its a good idea to start cutting down.
Why Does Alcohol Cause Hypertension
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 .
- Damage to the endothelium
- 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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