Hypertension or high blood pressure is an acute condition that can go undetected for years devoid of any symptoms. High blood pressure is one of leading causes of cardiovascular diseases around the world. When not controlled, high blood pressure raises the risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and or stroke.
Although there are many causes leading to high BP, including that of heredity, lifestyle habits also contribute significantly to development of high blood pressure.
Many studies have now established a connection between high blood pressure and alcohol consumption. Alcohol when consumed in lower quantity seems to decrease blood pressure but when alcohol is consumed higher in one sitting, it increases blood pressure. A standard drink is considered to be 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.
The fluctuation in blood pressure is temporary in a person who drinks alcohol. It is directly proportional to the level of alcohol in the blood, and once the alcohol level reduces the blood pressure also goes down.
However, when alcohol is consumed in higher quantities for a prolonged period it compounds the risk of development of chronic hypertension, which can damage arteries of the heart.
According to the World health organization (WHO), no amount of alcohol is considered to be safe.
As per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2020–2025) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) a standard drink can be defined as follows:
- Moderate drinking—one glass for women and two drinks for men in a day
- Heavy drinking—eight glasses for women and 15 glasses for men in a week
- Binge drinking—More than four glasses for women in two hours and more than five glasses for men in two hours
How does alcohol affect blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the amount of pressure in the blood vessels. Hypertension or high blood pressure is very harmful as it causes damage to the arteries. Due to persistent blood pressure, arteries gain rigidity and harden and it is called arteriosclerosis.
Arteriosclerosis creates heart blockage, which leads to heart attack and brain stroke. Hypertension is known to be a silent killer, because people often do not realize that they have complications with their blood pressure until symptoms of heart attacks, stroke or brain stroke show up.
There are numerous ways alcohol can indirectly affect blood pressure:
- Alcohol brings about changes in the central nervous system, which, in turn, is responsible for regulating blood pressure.
- Alcohol interferes with the baroreceptors in the body, which is responsible to sense body blood pressure and adjust it accordingly.
- Alcohol elevates cortisol (hormone) level in the blood, which is responsible for increasing blood pressure.
- Alcohol also increases calcium level in the muscles and the arteries eventually get more constricted, elevating blood pressure.
- Alcohol interacts with hormones that are responsible in constricting the arteries, and thereby raising the blood pressure.
- Calories present in alcohol can cause weight-gain on prolonged usage. And weight gain is also a cardinal factor that leads to high blood pressure.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), people with already existing high and low blood pressure complications should avoid taking alcohol, because it might further complicate their blood fluctuation level, leading to organ damage, heart attack, stroke or brain stroke.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, to alleviate alcohol-related health risks, adults of legal drinking age should limit their alcohol consumption to:
- One drink or less for women
- Two drinks or less a day for men
CDC also mentions that alcohol is known to cause various short-term and long-term health issues in people.
How to reverse the effect of alcohol on blood pressure?
Effect of alcohol is built up overtime and thereby raising the blood pressure. The only remedy to alleviate your hypertension is taking necessary steps to refrain from alcohol. If you are grappling with alcohol use disorder, professional intervention is required to overcome the condition.
If you feel like you are drinking more than moderate standards and also facing challenges of high blood pressure, talk to your doctor immediately and take necessary precautions. Try to follow a healthy diet, a daily routine and practice relaxation techniques.
If you are diagnosed with alcohol use disorder (AUD) seek help from an expert. Trying to quit alcohol on your own can be disastrous. For AUD you need to seek professional help, which comprises of medications, detoxification process, and psychotherapy—that includes talk therapy, group therapy, family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and habit reversal therapies.
Stopping alcohol may be difficult but help is available at Mission Recovery Treatment Center. If you are looking for a drug & alcohol rehabilitation center in Laguna Hills, California, contact use for immediate assistance.
We treat individuals struggling with co-occurring disorders, alcohol and drug abuse. Our alcohol treatment center at Laguna Beach offers best quality detox treatment and residential treatment programs. To know more call us now at our toll free number 855-355-1116.