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A new analysis published in the journal Hypertension suggests that every additional alcoholic beverage consumed may increase a person’s blood pressure level over the years. The analysis examined data from seven studies involving over 19,000 adults all over the world to find a clear correlation between daily alcohol consumption, even at low levels, and a rise in blood pressure.
The analysis found that for each gram of alcohol consumed daily, there was an associated rise in systolic (top-number) blood pressure of 1.25 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). This increase rose to 4.9 mm Hg for adults consuming an average of 48 grams of alcohol per day.
Moreover, the researchers did not find any beneficial effects for adults who consumed a low level of alcohol compared to those who did not drink at all. This study reinforces the American Heart Association’s advice to limit alcohol intake, and to avoid it completely if one is not already consuming alcohol.
The study also found that adults with higher starting blood pressure readings, had a stronger link between alcohol intake and blood pressure changes over time. This suggests that those with a trend towards increased (although still not “high”) blood pressure may benefit the most from low to no alcohol consumption.
The American Heart Association recommends people to talk to a healthcare professional about the benefits and risks of drinking in moderation. They also emphasize the importance of following a healthy lifestyle for optimal cardiovascular health, which includes adhering to the eight components within their ‘Life’s Essential 8’ program.
It is important to note that this study was observational in nature, and, therefore, no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect. Future research should be conducted to better understand the precise relationship between alcohol consumption, and blood pressure levels, and the associated effects on cardiovascular health