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does alcohol affect bp

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. Elevated uric acid levels could mediate this due to alcohol consumption. A study in the July 2020 ​Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews​ sought to get a better handle on how, or if, drinking alcohol affects blood pressure and heart rate within a 24-hour period. Researchers culled data from 32 randomized controlled trials involving 767 participants.

  1. Hypertension occurs when the pressure of blood against the artery walls becomes higher than normal.
  2. Alcohol withdrawal reverses the adverse impact of alcohol on endothelial function, with rapid normalization of the BP.
  3. 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.
  4. The current paper, which appears in the journal Nutrients, aimed to review all current studies dealing with the association between alcohol and blood pressure.
  5. Since the kidneys excrete a tenth of ingested alcohol, toxicity in these organs is expected, which could enhance inflammation and renal damage in hypertensive patients.
  6. She has counseled hundreds of patients facing issues from pregnancy-related problems and infertility, and has been in charge of over 2,000 deliveries, striving always to achieve a normal delivery rather than operative.

Alcohol consumption increases the amount of calcium that binds to the blood vessels. This increases the sensitivity of the blood vessels to compounds that constrict them. This combination of higher fluid levels in the body and smaller blood vessels increases blood pressure. The unit of measurement for blood alcohol use disorder pressure is millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). 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.

How Alcohol Affects Blood Pressure

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. Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of several metabolic conditions, including high blood pressure. Keep in mind that alcohol contains calories and may cause weight gain.

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. 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.

does alcohol affect bp

The current paper, which appears in the journal Nutrients, aimed to review all current studies dealing with the association between alcohol and blood pressure. Blood Pressure Categories Infographic describing the corresponding blood pressure readings between normal and hypertensive crisis. Discuss your alcohol intake with your healthcare provider and make lifestyle changes as recommended. However, if you want to partake in alcohol consumption, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025 and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) provide the following guidelines. According to a 2018 study and the World Health Organization, no amount of alcohol intake is safe, so any amount may be considered too much.

What does the study show?

In fact, over the long term, Blacks appear more prone to BP elevations than Whites or Asians. In one study, the risk for high BP among men increased by a fifth with 1-2 drinks but by half and three-fourths with 3-4 and 5 or more drinks a day. Women failed to show an increased risk at low dosages, but above two drinks a day, they had a 42% increase in risk. However, this finding remains to be validated and has been contradicted by other research. Studies published in the American Heart Association’s scientific journals are peer-reviewed. The statements and conclusions in each manuscript are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the Association’s policy or position.

The following sections will look at some of these ways in more detail. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a very common condition worldwide. “Alcohol consumption might affect left ventricular diastolic properties, even in nonalcoholic patients,” say the researchers. The AHA defines hypertension as a consistently elevated high systolic (upper) pressure of 130 or higher, or a diastolic (lower) pressure of 80 or higher. Red wine contains an antioxidant called resveratrol, which some studies have shown reduces cholesterol and lowers blood pressure. When blood pressure decreases, these receptors help minimize how much the blood vessels stretch to increase blood pressure.

Decreasing or eliminating your alcohol intake can lower your chances of developing high blood pressure. It’s important to have regular physical exams, since hypertension is painless and many people don’t even know they have it. Talk to your healthcare alcoholism: causes risk factors and symptoms provider to discuss your risk factors and if it is safe for you to drink alcohol, even in moderation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports a correlation between alcohol consumption and various short- and long-term health risks.

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Use of this website and any information contained herein is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement. Cortisol is a hormone that regulates the body’s response to stress. It also regulates metabolism, immune function, and inflammatory pathways.

It may affect the level of the medication in the body or increase side effects. “Anything but beer is OK, as beer comes with a salt load that can cause high blood pressure and is high in calories.” “It has calories, and calories can cause weight gain and obesity, which will lead to high blood pressure,” Dr. Mintz says. According to the results, one glass of alcohol has little to no effect on blood pressure, and drinking one to two standard drinks decreases blood pressure for up to 12 hours. But for those who drank much more than two drinks, blood pressure started to rise after 12 hours, the review study found. There is a significant amount of data to show that drinking large quantities of alcohol, whether it is a spirits, beer, or wine, can increase the risk of developing hypertension.

She has over a decade of direct patient care experience working as a registered nurse specializing in neurotrauma, stroke, and the emergency room. If a person has concerns that they or someone they know might have a dependency on alcohol, they should seek professional advice and support as soon as they can. Individuals who do not experience withdrawal symptoms will likely see the positive effects of giving up alcohol shortly after doing so. However, people who are dependent on alcohol or have been misusing alcohol for a long period of time may have difficulty quitting. Although these values can be helpful, there is some variation in alcohol content.

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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. With moderate doses of alcohol, blood pressure (BP) went up for up to seven hours but normalized after that. A biphasic response was observed with high doses of alcohol, with an initial decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP and DBP, respectively) for up to 12 hours, increasing at more than 13 hours from consumption. Thus alcohol decreases blood pressure initially (up to 12 hours after ingestion) and increases blood pressure after that.


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. Conversely, moderate drinking has been repeatedly demonstrated to have potential benefits for patients with diabetes and abnormal lipoprotein profiles. At the same time, some studies suggest that stopping or reducing alcohol intake produces better outcomes for those with high blood pressure or alcohol use disorder CVD. Alcohol withdrawal reverses the adverse impact of alcohol on endothelial function, with rapid normalization of the BP. ”We found participants with higher starting blood pressure readings, had a stronger link between alcohol intake and blood pressure changes over time. We reviewed available evidence about the short‐term effects of different doses of alcoholic drinks compared to non‐alcoholic drinks on blood pressure and heart rate in adults (≥ 18 years) with both normal and raised blood pressure.

However, alcohol consumption has been strongly linked to human diseases, including dementia, liver cirrhosis, and neurological conditions. A recent research paper examined whether drinking was related to hypertension, the root factor in morbidity and mortality caused by cardiovascular disease (CVD). 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. Drinking alcohol may also increase blood pressure for a short amount of time even in healthy people.

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