Does drinking alcohol affect my blood pressure?


Alcohol is often well ingrained into our daily lives – from pubs and restaurants to family celebrations, we often consume alcohol without even thinking about it, forgetting that it can be damaging without moderation. Whilst people often primarily associate diet, food and stress with blood pressure, alcohol can lead to high blood pressure too. Here’s all you need to know about the impact of alcohol on your blood pressure, and how you can lower your blood pressure through alcohol moderation.

When does alcohol lead to high blood pressure?

Dr Chun Tang – an esteemed GP from Pall Mall Medical – explains that drinking more than three alcoholic beverages in one sitting will raise your blood pressure. Therefore, even if you don’t drink regularly, you could still trigger higher blood pressure in one drinking session. It’s best to limit your alcohol rounds to three to avoid any negative impact on your blood pressure. 

If you drink alcohol more frequently, perhaps in a binging pattern that involves constant and excessive drinking, then you are at risk of high blood pressure levels. There are serious consequences to high blood pressure, including increased chances of further medical complications including heart attacks, heart failure, weakened heart muscle, and stroke.

Does alcohol withdrawal affect my blood pressure?

If you’ve struggled with alcoholism or excessive drinking, reducing or stopping your alcohol consumption can be incredibly difficult. Your body will be used to all of that alcohol entering the body, so when that changes, your body will react in confusion, often in the form of increased blood pressure as a result of alcohol withdrawal. 

Anxiety and shakiness can also be side effects of alcohol withdrawal, which can also lead to increased blood pressure. It’s therefore important to have a good support structure in place when you reduce your alcohol consumption, and if you are experiencing anxiety or depression then you can always attend counselling for some extra support. 

The symptoms explained above will likely be temporary and short term, so if you do not relapse after reducing your alcohol intake then you can expect to see a decrease in your blood pressure within one month, creating a healthier you. 

How can I lower my alcohol related high blood pressure?

If you struggle with alcoholism or excessive alcohol consumption then you can chat to your GP or take part in a recovery programme which will help you to lower your blood pressure and reduce the likelihood of any further serious medical conditions. 

If you’re not an excessive drinker, but are still concerned about the link between your alcohol consumption and high blood pressure, it’s best to limit your alcohol intake. As mentioned above, limit yourself to three drinks per session but it’s best to stick to one-two drinks. 

You should not be drinking more than fourteen units of alcohol a week, and this should be spread over at least three days –  Healthline explains that one unit of alcohol is equivalent to a single shot of liquor, a half pint of beer, or a third of a glass of wine. 

It’s also important to note that people over the age of fifty are more susceptible to blood pressure related conditions, so if you fit into that age bracket then be extra careful with your alcohol consumption.

Overall, if you drink  alcohol sensibly and in moderation, then you should not develop high blood pressure as a result of alcohol misuse – however, you can still be aware of how to lower your blood pressure by eating well and exercising. 

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