Differences in the Association between Alcohol Consumption and Blood Pressure by Age, Gender, and Smoking

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The positive association between alcohol consumption and blood pressure is well known. Little is known, however, about effect modification by age, gender, and smoking on the alcohol-blood pressure association. We used data of a cross-sectional study conducted in the Netherlands to investigate the association between alcohol consumption and blood pressure. Between 1987 and 1990, we examined about 30,000 men and women age 20–59 years. After adjustment for age, body mass index, and smoking, we found that in men systolic and diastolic blood pressure increased by 0.9 and 0.6 mmHg per daily drink, respectively. In women, systolic and diastolic blood pressure were 2 and 1 mmHg higher in those who consumed 2 or more glasses per day compared with nondrinkers, respectively. We observed a stronger association between alcohol and blood pressure in older men compared with younger men and in male and female smokers compared with nonsmokers. These data show that gender, age, and smoking all are important effect modifiers of the alcohol-blood pressure relation.

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