To Drink or Not to Drink: High Blood Pressure and Alcohol

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le

Because of your high blood pressure, your doctor advises you to take notice of what you eat and drink. But you love wine and two question arouse in your head: to drink or not to drink? Before you decide, read this article. You may find out some useful information.

Is drinking alcohol good for your blood pressure?

Light to moderate drinking (up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men) has been shown to lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mmHg. However, the drop is not significant enough to advise drinking. Moreover, consuming too much alcohol can make your blood pressure high. Drinking more than three drinks a day can momentarily boost your blood pressure, but alcohol abuse can result in long-term high blood pressure. One more thing, alcohol carries calories. These calories can contribute to unwanted weight gain which puts you at greater risk of high blood pressure.

You should determine your risk factors before deciding to drink or not to drink alcohol. For examples, many people with family history of alcoholism, heart or liver diseases should not drink alcohol at all. It can increase your risk of serious complications.

Heavy drinkers (someone who drinks a lot of alcohol a day) who limit their amount of alcohol consumption can reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

What about red wine?

Some studies have shown that a chemical called polyphenols in red wine can help improve your heart health by improving HDL cholesterol, preventing blood clots and relieving stress. And one glass of red wine is not going to raise your blood pressure. However, red wine with alcohol is not comparably good. Some researchers think that alcohol can lessen the effects of antioxidants in red wine.

Some useful advice

If you are a heavy drinker and you want to cut back to moderate drinking, you should gradually reduce your drinking. If you stop drinking suddenly, you may have greater risks of high blood pressure.

If you have high blood pressure, stop drinking alcohol or limit your alcohol use. If you are younger than 65, do not use more than 2 drinks a day. If you are a man and older than 65, allow only one drink a day. If you are a woman, your ideal amount is one drink a day.

One drink means 355 milliliters of beer, 150 milliliters of wine.

You do not have to stop drinking alcohol. However, you should limit the amount. This can help prevent high blood pressure, heart attacks, or strokes. What you like does not always good for your health.

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