Alcohol intake appears to have detrimental effects on blood pressure, particularly among men, according to two reports in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
In the first, a meta-analysis comprising over 360,000 adults and 90,000 new cases of hypertension, researchers observe that men who averaged 1-2 drinks daily had increased risk for hypertension relative to nondrinkers (relative risk, 1.2), with risk increasing as alcohol intake increased. Among women, hypertension risk began to increase at 3 or more drinks per day.
The second study included 4,700 adults aged 18-45 who answered survey questions about binge-drinking. Roughly 25% of men and 12% of women reported binge-drinking more than 12 times in the past year, and 29% of men and 25% of women reported doing so 1-12 times.
After multivariable adjustment, men who binge-drank had higher systolic BP than non-binge-drinkers, and those who binge-drank more than 12 times/year had higher systolic BP than those who binge-drank less (122 vs. 119 mm Hg). This association was not observed among women.