Drinking alcohol regularly for a long period of time increases your risk of high blood pressure. In addition, alcohol can make you put on weight due to the amount of calories it contains. Being overweight also increases your risk of high blood pressure

Heavy drinking increases the risk of high blood pressure for both women and men. Cutting down on alcohol can help to reduce your risk of getting high blood pressure.

High blood pressure means that your heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body. Hypertension is the medical term for having persistently high blood pressure. It is a major cause of heart attack, stroke, vascular dementia, and chronic kidney disease.

Other effects of Alcohol:

  • Causes damage to liver leading to scarring and cirrhosis
  • Increases gastric secretion leading to acidity
  • Damages the pancreas which interrupts in insulin secretion and leading to increased sugar levels
  • Chronic drinking may affect memory
  • Leads to alcohol dependency
  • May lead to stroke or heart failure
  • Women who drink alcohol while pregnant put their unborn child at risk. It may lead to learning difficulties, long-term health issues ,physical development abnormalities
  • Chronic drinking may lead to weak immune system , which makes susceptible to infections

How much alcohol is safe for hypertension patients?

  • Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure to unhealthy levels.
  • Having more than three drinks in one sitting temporarily increases your blood pressure, but repeated binge drinking can lead to long-term complications.
  • Heavy drinkers who stop suddenly risk developing severe high blood pressure for several days.
  • Heavy drinkers who want to lower blood pressure should slowly reduce how much they drink over one to two weeks.

Besides causing high blood pressure, alcohol can also interfere with the effectiveness and increase the side effects of some blood pressure medications.

For Indians, doctors usually advice avoidance of alcohol intake for various reasons.

Can you drink alcohol when you are taking high blood pressure medication?

There are several types of high blood pressure medicines. Each of them lowers your blood pressure in a different way. High blood pressure medications include:

  • ACE inhibitors – these help to control the hormones that affect blood pressure. 
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) – these work on hormones in the same way as ACE inhibitors.
  • Thiazide diuretics– these get rid of excess fluid in the body.
  • Calcium channel blockers – these medicines have the effect of relaxing the artery walls to expand the arteries, thereby lowering blood pressure.

Most people need to take a combination of blood pressure medicines to ensure that their high blood pressure is controlled as much as possible. 

It is not recommended to mix high blood pressure medications with drinking too much alcohol as it can have an effect on how well they treat your condition. 

While you can drink a small amount of alcohol with some blood pressure medication, some medicines for high blood pressure can cause dizziness or drowsiness. Drinking alcohol can increase these effects, which is why it’s not recommended to drink alcohol while taking them.

Reference:

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/effects-on-the-body/alcohol-and-blood-pressure/

https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/features/hypertension-and-alcohol#1

https://onlinedoctor.superdrug.com/high-blood-pressure-and-alcohol.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert-answers/blood-pressure/faq-20058254

-Dr.ChandraShekar

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