If, like many, you were also wondering if alcohol raises blood pressure, you’ve landed on the right page, and here is the answer - alcohol consumption does spike blood pressure to unhealthy levels; however, it is not the only cause of hypertension.
High blood pressure or hypertension is a silent killer. Experts suggest that high blood pressure can quietly cause damage that can pose serious risks to one’s health without one feeling anything. Hence, it is important to understand the numbers and make changes to manage normal BP levels.
Alcohol and high blood pressure is a deadly cocktail, no pun intended! This troublesome mix increases the chances of developing serious heart problems and other health conditions. Here is how alcohol affects blood pressure in more than one way -
Alcohol increases the calcium levels in the blood and constricts the blood vessels, leading to raised blood pressure. Blood calcium, which helps with many bodily functions such as muscle function, nerve transmission, hormone secretion, bone health, and blood clotting, is strictly regulated by the body. The calcium imbalance in the bloodstream can lead to health problems.
Kidneys are responsible for filtering harmful substances, alcohol being one such substance. Heavy drinking puts excessive stress on the kidneys and forces them to work harder, leading to a higher risk of kidney failure. Moreover, it also affects their ability to keep fluid and electrolytes balanced. This can lead to dehydration. The electrolyte imbalance, especially sodium and potassium, can cause high blood pressure.
While there is a direct and dangerous link between alcohol and hypertension, binge drinking can lower heart rate and blood pressure. Heavy drinkers are at a higher risk of experiencing sudden drops in blood pressure, causing dizziness and even shock, in many cases.
Cortisol is a stress hormone secreted to trigger a "fight or flight" response, which prepares the body to deal with stress and low blood glucose. It also helps with many bodily functions, including regulating blood pressure.
While alcohol can initially suppress cortisol levels, heavy drinking can cause an increase in its production. Prolonged excessive alcohol consumption can lead to persistent high levels of cortisol in the body, even when the body is not under immediate stress. This can further contribute to an increased risk of high blood pressure.
According to a research paper published by the National Library of Medicine, a large amount of alcohol has two effects on blood pressure. First, it lowers blood pressure for up to 12 hours after drinking. Then, after around 13 hours, it increases blood pressure. Heart rate, on the other hand, always increases up to 24 hours after consuming high amounts of alcohol. These findings primarily focus on healthy men, as there were only a few women in the studies reviewed.
When it comes to alcohol and blood pressure, there is no middle ground. There is no worst alcohol for high blood pressure, and there is certainly no good one. Many people consider red wine good for health, but research has shown that there is no clear indication of whether it is the benefits of red wine or a result of a healthy lifestyle.
If you are a regular drinker, the key to preventing alcohol-induced high blood pressure is to practice moderate drinking. Limit consumption to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
Yes, quitting alcohol or reducing alcohol intake can potentially lower high blood pressure. Quitting drinking can have many long-term health benefits, including improved blood pressure levels.
Certain drinks might help lower blood pressure, such as -
Some lifestyle tips may include -
If you suffer from alcoholism or have concerns about your blood pressure, consult a specialist to address your specific problem and find an effective treatment plan.
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Shweta Chaubey, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. An advocate-turned-writer, her desire to create meaningful and positive content has brought her to HPFY and what better than writing ...
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