A study described in a press release that was published March 7, 2019 by the American college of Cardiology (ACC) shows for the first time that moderate alcohol drinking is harmful rather than being protective against heart disease or stroke, as it raises blood pressure. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a leading risk for heart attacks and stroke.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES)
The researchers examined medical information on 17,059 adults who were enrolled in the large National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) between 1988 and 1994. The NHANES study was led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Previous Research had Suggested Moderate Drinking Might be Beneficial for the Heart
Until now some research has suggested that moderate drinking might be beneficial for preventing heart disease, but the results of this research show very clearly that moderate as well as heavy alcohol drinking can increase blood pressure. Dr. Amer Aladin, the lead author, suggests that previous studies had smaller numbers of participants compared to this large NHANES study, so the results in this study that include a much larger number of participants may account for the different results. The study also included a lot of diversity among the participants regarding, age, gender and ethnic background. Also, Dr, Aladin said that this is the first study that shows that both heavy and moderate alcohol drinking can cause blood pressure to become high.
Alcoholic Drinking Behavior was Obtained by Questionnaires
The researchers got their information about the drinking behavior of the participants from questionnaires that were sent to them in the mail or were obtained in person.
Checking and Recording Blood Pressure
The blood pressure of the participants was check by trained people who visited the participants in their homes and also by a mobile examination center.
Participants were Divided into Three Groups
- Non-drinkers were those who never drank alcoholic drinks.
- Moderate drinkers were those who drank 7-13 drinks a week.
- Heavy drinkers were those who drank 14 or more drinks a week.
High Blood Pressure Defined According to 2017 ACC/AHA High blood Pressure Guidelines
Stage 1 Hypertension: 130-139/80-89
Stage 2 Hypertension: 140 or higher/90 or higher
Blood Pressure Levels for the Three Groups
- The average blood pressure rate for non-drinkers was about 109/67.
- The average blood pressure rate for moderate alcohol drinkers was about 128/79.
- The average blood pressure rate for heavy alcohol drinkers was about 153/82.
Moderate alcohol drinkers had a 53% greater chance to have Stage 1 Hypertension than people who never drank and were twice as likely to have Stage 2 Hypertension.
Heavy drinkers had a 69% greater chance to have State 1 Hypertension and 2.4 times as likely to have Stage 2 Hypertension.
The researchers suggest that people who are moderate or heavy alcohol drinkers should have their blood pressure regularly tested at each medical visit and seek advice on cutting down on drinking, so as to eventually be able to quit.
Drinking Alcohol was Associated with premature Death from all Causes
Another study published August 24, 2018 by researchers from the University of Washington in the Lancet journal shows that drinking alcohol was responsible for 2.8 million deaths from all causes all over the world in 2016. Alcohol use was listed as the 7th leading risk factor for premature death from all causes and disability for people ages 15-49. The researchers found associations between drinking and premature death, cancer and cardiovascular events.
Risk for Cancer and all-cause Death Rises as Rate of Drinking Alcohol Increases
The researchers discovered that the more alcohol is consumed, the higher is the risk for cancer and death from all-causes. They concluded that only zero consumption of alcohol is safe.
Short-term Rehabilitation after a Stroke, Heart Attack or Surgery
If you or your loved one are after a cardiovascular event like a stroke or heart attack and are in need of short-term rehabilitation, the Park Crescent Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in East Orange, New Jersey offers post-stroke care and cardiac rehabilitation.
If you drink even moderately and suffer from high blood pressure then it pays to cut down or quit to prevent a heart attack or stroke.