Even a single alcoholic drink a day can raise blood pressure, the study says
A new study found that even a single drink a day can raise systolic blood pressure in both men and women without pre-existing hypertension.
"We found no less harmful effects in those who drank a low level of alcohol compared to those who drank larger amounts of alcohol," said study author Dr. Marco Vinceti, a professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in a statement.
Small amounts of alcohol also raise low blood pressure, or diastolic, but only in men, according to the study, which was published Monday in the journal Hypertension.
"Both systolic and diastolic readings contribute to cardiovascular risk, but of the two, systolic blood pressure is arguably the most important risk factor in adults," said study co-author Dr. Paul Whelton.
Blood pressure and cardiovascular health
The systolic reading, which represents the force of blood against the artery walls when the heart contracts, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over age 50, according to the American Heart Association. The low diastolic reading measures the pressure in the arteries as the heart muscle relaxes between beats.
No amount of alcohol is good for blood pressure, study says.
A normal systolic reading is usually 120 mm Hg or below, but tends to increase as blood vessels weaken and narrow with age. A normal diastolic reading is below 80 mm Hg, but it begins to drop with age as the arteries lose their elasticity and stiffen, sometimes leading to an increased pulse.
"Alcohol is certainly not the only cause of increased blood pressure, however, our findings confirm that it contributes in a meaningful way," said Vinceti, also an assistant professor in the department of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health. therefore it is advisable to limit the intake of alcohol, even avoiding it is even better".
The concept that excessive alcohol increases blood pressure has existed for a long time, said Dr. Andrew Freeman, - however, this review found that even relatively low levels of alcohol affect blood pressure. So this is another study that shows there may not be any safe amount of alcohol.