World Heart Day: Does consumption of a small amount of alcohol affect your blood pressure?
Elevated blood pressure is one of the risk factors for cardiac or heart disease. Does the consumption of a small amount of alcohol affect your blood pressure?
According to World Health Organization (WHO), alcohol consumption is considered as a risk factor for people suffering from comorbidities like hypertension, obesity and other risk factors include ageing, leading a sedentary lifestyle and eating a high salt diet. According to health experts, there are cardiovascular risks associated with light drinking as well, which is why WHO now maintains that there are no safe levels of alcohol consumption.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle on World Heart Day, Dr Farah Ingale, Director-Internal Medicine at Fortis Hiranandani Hospital in Vashi, revealed, “A recent study conducted involving 20,000 participants of various ethnicities, including those from United States, concluded that even low levels of alcohol when consumed regularly, can increase the systolic blood pressure in both men and women. This was regardless of their baseline blood pressure values. The above-mentioned study was then published in the American Heart Association's journal.”
She shared, “When the analysis was done at averages, it was found that 12 grams of alcohol consumption per day led to 1.25 mmHg increase in systolic blood pressure, which is by definition, even smaller than a standard drink. Higher amounts of consumption of alcohol were associated with a significant increase in systolic blood pressure - 48 grams of daily alcohol consumption led to an average increase in systolic blood pressure of 4.9 mmHg. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), for most adults, blood pressure is considered normal when the systolic reading is less than 120 mmHg, and the diastolic reading is below 80 mmHg. Hence, people are diagnosed with Hypertension when their systolic blood pressure is at least 130 mmHg, or when their diastolic readings are over 80 mmHg.”
Dr Farah Ingale concluded, “When patients do drink alcohol consistently, even if it’s 3-4 drinks a week, that can elevate their blood pressure. That elevated blood pressure is one of the risk factors for cardiac or heart disease and amongst many other things like smoking and diabetes, cholesterol and family history. Hence, in order to have a stable blood pressure, high risk patients should avoid consumption of alcohol.”