How does alcohol affect blood pressure?

But there are ways that alcohol affects your body over time that are important to understand. One of the long-term effects of alcohol on your heart is alcoholic cardiomyopathy. This is when your heart-pumping function gets weaker and your heart gets larger due to changes from heavy alcohol use over a long period of time. That fourth drink at the bar may feel like it’s relaxing you, but it’s actually affecting your body differently than you might think. Your healthcare provider may recommend a blood pressure medication as well.

If you drink alcohol, limit consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. Generally, one drink equals a 12-ounce beer (5% content), 8-ounce malt liquor (7% content), a 5-ounce glass of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor. Drinking excessive alcohol is considered one of the most common causes of raised blood pressure, leading to other health problems. This is the reason why doctors will question a patient’s alcohol intake when a high blood pressure reading is measured.

Limiting Alcohol to Manage High Blood Pressure

Moreover, not only does drinking cause elevated blood pressure, but in excess, it can directly enhance the damage caused to cardiac and renal tissues by hypertension. Some scientists suggest a J-shaped curve between alcohol and CVD, but this remains a hypothesis. The current paper, which appears in the journal Nutrients, aimed to review all current studies dealing with the association between alcohol and blood pressure.

  • On the other hand, other research has shown that there may be a link between alcohol and low blood pressure for people who drink one glass of alcohol a day.
  • Consuming alcohol can increase the risk of high blood pressure and other metabolic conditions in several ways.
  • However, if your alcohol consumption has begun to cause problems with your health or other parts of your life, you should consider seeking medical advice or treatment.
  • And sure, we’ve all had a night here or there where we’ve had one too many and we know it.
  • The last thing you want is for that casual drink after work or glass of wine at dinner to negatively impact your heart health.
  • Blood pressure is the force exerted by your blood flowing on the walls of your arteries—tubular structures that carry blood to different parts of your body.

According to a large-scale study⁵ with more than 17,000 participants, those categorized as moderate or heavy drinkers were at a higher risk for high blood pressure than those who didn’t drink alcohol. Some studies have shown an association between moderate alcohol intake and a lower risk of dying from heart disease. Most interventional studies, whether included or not included in our study, use alcohol intake over a set period for a reasonable reproduction of social alcohol intake. The included studies ranged from 1 to 8 h in the evening; none exceeded an 8-h intake period. The effects of time between alcohol consumption and measurement of BP are shown in Figs. 3 and 4 using data from the three studies reporting multiple time points.

Who Needs Treatment for Their Alcohol Intake?

Red wine, specifically, is incorrectly thought to improve blood pressure. The effect has been found to be more likely due to either lifestyle factors or the grapes that red wine contains, not the alcohol. Alcohol itself is not a healthy tool for controlling blood pressure and staying healthy. A recent study shows the least mortality at 100 g/week or less of alcohol, with a dose-dependent relationship between alcohol and stroke, IHD, fatal hypertensive disease, heart failure, and fatal aortic aneurysm.

For instance, someone with high blood pressure may be at an increased risk of negative side effects due to drinking alcohol. If you have high blood pressure, it’s important to discuss any risk factors with your healthcare provider, including alcohol consumption. This article explains the connection between alcohol and hypertension, explores the effects of different types of alcohol, and discusses safe alcohol consumption. A wide variation in alcohol intake at baseline existed in the studies included in this review. Nonetheless, an adequate washout removed the potential for alcohol withdrawal to influence findings.

Can Red Wine Lower Blood Pressure?

A heart that’s healthy and functioning normally will pump blood throughout your body at relatively low blood pressure. Individuals who drink alcohol in excess can help improve their overall health by stopping drinking. Alcohol increases the risk of several other short- and long-term health issues. Alcohol prevents the body’s baroreceptors from detecting a need to stretch the blood vessels and increase their diameter, causing an increase in blood pressure.

In addition to managing a successful family medical practice, Dr. Hoffman is board certified in addiction medicine by the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM). Dr. Hoffman has successfully treated hundreds of patients battling addiction. Dr. Hoffman is the Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of and ensures the website’s medical content and messaging quality. It also harms the developing fetus and can lead to birth defects and other health problems. You can do many things to prevent the risk of hypertension—even if you are more at risk due to hereditary or other factors. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and guidance.