BY SARA MONIUSZKO
Routinely drinking alcohol — as little as one drink a day — is associated with an increase in blood pressure readings, even in adults without hypertension, according to new research analysis.
The research published Monday in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension analyzed data from seven international studies and found that people who drank even one alcoholic beverage per day were more likely to have higher blood pressure when compared to non-drinkers.
“We found no beneficial effects in adults who drank a low level of alcohol compared to those who did not drink alcohol,” senior study author Dr. Marco Vinceti, said in a news release. “We were somewhat surprised to see that consuming an already-low level of alcohol was also linked to higher blood pressure changes over time compared to no consumption — although far less than the blood pressure increase seen in heavy drinkers.”
The analysis included data from more than 19,000 adults in the United States, Korea and Japan. Alcohol consumption was based on grams of alcohol consumed, not number of drinks, in order to keep measurements consistent across countries with differing types of beverages and sizes of “standard drinks.”
After reviewing the data of all participants for more than five years, researchers found the systolic, or top number, blood pressure rose:
1.25 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) in people who consumed an average of 12 grams of alcohol per day
4.9 mm Hg in people consuming an average of 48 grams of alcohol per day.
In the U.S., 14 grams of alcohol equates to about a 12-ounce serving of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine or a 1.5-ounce shot of distilled spirits, the release notes.
For diastolic, or bottom number, blood pressure, it rose:
1.14 mm Hg in people consuming an average of 12 grams of alcohol per day
3.1 mm Hg in people consuming an average of 48 grams of alcohol per day
Diastolic blood pressure is not as strong a predictor of heart disease risk compared to systolic, the release notes, adding that these associations were seen in males, which accounted for 65% of the study participants, but not in females. The systolic results were seen in both.
High blood pressure is known as a “silent killer” and can increase a person’s risk of heart attack, stroke, chronic kidney disease and other serious conditions.
“Alcohol is certainly not the sole driver of increases in blood pressure; however, our findings confirm it contributes in a meaningful way,” Vinceti added. “Limiting alcohol intake is advised, and avoiding it is even better.”
The above news was originally posted on cbsnews.com
BY SARA MONIUSZKO