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Network Health Blog

The Relationship Between Drinking and Hypertension

blood pressure cuff

Can Alcohol Affect Your Blood Pressure?

by Julien Her, quality care coordinator 

Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. Unlike other health issues, hypertension doesn’t always have physical symptoms, so it can be harder to know you have it without frequent blood pressure tests or monitoring.

For that reason, hypertension is extremely dangerous and can work behind the scenes for years, damaging your heart and blood vessels. Over time, it can lead to major health complications like heart attack, aneurysm or stroke.

Hypertension Facts

Hypertension affects a lot of people and frequently goes on for years untreated. Here are six facts about high blood pressure.

  1. Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure without knowing it.
  2. There are usually no warning signs or symptoms for high blood pressure unless you have your blood pressure checked regularly.
  3. Adults with diabetes, high blood pressure or both have a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease.
  4. High blood pressure can occur during pregnancy.
  5. High blood pressure usually develops over time and can be the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices.
  6. You can lower your blood pressure by making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, consuming less than 1500 mg/day of sodium (salt), exercising at least 90-150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week and maintaining a healthy weight.

So What Effect Does Alcohol Have on Blood Pressure?

One of the primary ways you can help prevent the negative health impacts of hypertension is by understanding the way common substances like alcohol affect your blood pressure. You read that correctly – consuming alcohol can increase your blood pressure.

How do you minimize the risk of hypertension without cutting out alcohol entirely? If you drink alcohol, such as red wine, do so in moderation.

Per the American Heart Association, heavy and regular use of alcohol can increase blood pressure which can produce irregular heartbeats and lead to heart failure.

Too much alcohol can also contribute to high triglycerides which cause fatty buildup in the artery walls, increasing your risk of a heart attack and stroke.

If that’s not enough reason to consider limiting alcohol consumption to recommended intake levels, consuming higher amounts of alcohol can also lead to cancer, obesity, alcoholism, suicide and accidents.

What is the Right Amount of Alcohol to Drink for Blood Pressure?

If you drink, limit your consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. A drink is equal to a 12-ounce beer, a 4-ounce glass of wine, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor or 1 ounce of 100-proof hard liquor.

Please talk with your personal care doctor if you have any questions, concerns or need help regarding your alcohol consumption and blood pressure.

For further questions related to your Network Health plan and wellness, contact us today!

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