Does Alcohol Raise Blood Pressure?
Heavy alcohol consumption affects the body in many ways, including raising your blood pressure. Here’s what you need to know about high blood pressure, how heavy drinking affects your health, and ways to reduce high blood pressure.
What is high blood pressure?
Your body needs oxygenated blood in order to function properly. When the heart beats, it creates pressure that pushes the blood through your arteries, veins and capillaries to the waiting tissues and organs. When the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels is consistently too high, this is known as high blood pressure or hypertension. High blood pressure puts a strain on your blood vessels and raises the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other health problems.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 67 million American adults have high blood pressure. This equates to one in every three adults. When your blood pressure is high, you are four times more likely to die from a stroke and three times more likely to die of heart disease.
What are the risk factors and symptoms?
Risk factors for hypertension include family history, health conditions and lifestyle choices such as heaving drinking. Because hypertension does not have any noticeable symptoms, it is known as a “silent killer.” The only way to tell if you have high blood pressure is to regularly have it checked at a doctor’s office or at your local pharmacy.
While there may not always be a clear explanation for developing high blood pressure, there are several factors that can help reduce its risk.
Why does alcohol raise blood pressure and how can I reduce my risk?
First, eliminate alcohol. In addition to a serious long-term effect on blood pressure, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to increased risk of health problems such as injuries, violence, liver disease, and cancer, according to the CDC.
Does drinking alcohol raise blood pressure the next day? The Mayo Clinic reports that having more than three drinks in one sitting temporarily raises blood pressure and that repeated binge drinking can lead to long-term increases. Furthermore, alcohol often contributes to unwanted weight gain, which is another risk factor for hypertension. Alcohol can also interfere with the effectiveness of some blood pressure medications.
How long after quitting drinking should blood pressure decrease?
Heavy drinkers who’d like to lower their blood pressure should gradually reduce their consumption over one or two weeks, and seek professional help as needed. Those who suddenly abstain from abusing alcohol risk the opposite effect of developing severe high blood pressure for several days.
If you’re a heavy drinker and suspect you have a drinking problem, it’s important to educate yourself and seek help, if needed.
Here are some other ways to keep your blood pressure within a healthy range:
- Eat a healthy diet: Incorporate lots of fruit, veggies, lean protein and low-fat dairy into your diet
- Reduce sodium: Below 1,500 mg a day is ideal. Nearly 90 percent of Americans consume too much sodium
- Exercise regularly: Current guidelines recommend 90 to 150 minutes of exercise per week
- Maintain a healthy weight: Shoot for a body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9
- Quit smoking – or don’t start: Smoking cigarettes raises your blood pressure and puts you at a higher risk for heart attack and stroke. Smoking cessation help is available at smokefree.gov
- Have blood pressure checked regularly: There are no outward symptoms of high blood pressure, therefore, it’s important to check regularly to make sure you’re within a healthy range
In addition to lowering blood pressure and improving your health, eliminating alcohol positively impacts career and relationships. To learn more about recovering from alcohol abuse, contact the experts who can help at United Recovery Project.