Alcohol and Blood Pressure

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Epidemiologic studies in the past two decades have firmly established a relationship between regular, heavier alocohol consuption and higher blood presssure. This association has been demonstraed in both cross-sectional and prospective studies. It is found in both sexes and several races and is independent of usual type of alcoholic beverage, adiposity, education, smoking, salt intake, and several other trains. Clinical experiments show that blood pressure falls in days to weeks with abstinemce from alcohol and that it rises again in days after resumption of drinking. No mechanism has been demonstrated for this alcohol/blood pressure effect. Alcohol withdrawal sysptoms have not been seen in the clinical esperiments; thus, this is not to be major explantion. Studies of the role of alcohol in hypertension sequelaem such as coronary heart disease and stroke, have been difficult beacuse of the effects of alcohol, independent of blood pressure, in these conditions. In sum, data link heavier drinking to higher blood pressure, and it is likely that this relation is causal. Restriction of intake by heavier drinkers lowers blood pressure, and heavy alcohol ingestion should always be considence by clinicals as a possible hypertension risk factor.

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