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What Role Does Alcohol Play in High Blood Pressure?

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Having “too much” alcohol can increase your blood pressure, and it can be more severe if you already suffer from hypertension. Drinking more than three units in one setting can increase your blood pressure levels temporarily, but binge drinking can take its toll by contributing to hypertension in the long term. If you are a heavy drinker and have high blood pressure, now would be a good time to slow down or stop completely. Doctors at Las Vegas medical clinics can give you insight into how alcohol can make high blood pressure much worse.

People who are heavy drinkers and who reduce their alcohol intake to moderate drinking can drop their systolic pressure by 2 to 4 millimeters of mercury, and diastolic pressure by 1 to 2 millimeters. It is important though that you reduce your alcohol intake gradually if you are a heavy drinker. A sudden drop could see a spike in your blood pressure if you stop drinking spontaneously.

Moderate drinking is defined as two drinks per day for men who are under the age of 65 and one drink for women. Men over the age of 65 should only drink one unit of alcohol per day. One drink is counted as 355 ml or 12 ounces of beer, 148 ml or 5 ounces of wine or 44ml or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.

Alcohol is also high in calories and can contribute to weight gain, which is another risk factor for high blood pressure. Alcohol can also affect some blood pressure medications and increase your chances of side effects from your medication. Alcohol is also bad news for people who have existing hypertension. One study claims that men who consume more than six drinks in a row double their risk of death from heart attack. Having 12 or more drinks elevates that risk to five times. The study did not postulate a causal link between alcohol consumption and cardiac events. It did not take the timing of the binge drinking and cardiovascular events into consideration.

Other studies, however, have found that alcohol can increase your blood pressure by 15 to 20 points, which is dangerous territory if you already have hypertension. Stopping drinking or reducing your intake to one unit a day is an important way to protect your health, especially if you already suffer from high blood pressure. Low cost clinics in Las Vegas can provide you with guidance on other lifestyle changes and medication to keep you healthy.