Drinking alcohol regularly at a young age doubles the chances of suffering from alcohol-related problems.
Excess consumption of alcohol is the underlying cause of several diseases and disorders. Excessive alcoholism is when a person consumes more than 2-3 drinks of alcohol daily, for a long period. Alcohol primarily affects the central nervous system (CNS), damages the liver, and also increases the risk of cancer.
✰ Alcohol and Blood Pressure
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a precursor of numerous problems related to the heart, kidney and brain. Excessive consumption of alcohol can increase the blood pressure, resulting in hypertension.
Alcohol ➡ Obesity ➡ High Blood Pressure
Consuming excess alcohol increases weight considerably, as alcohol contains high amounts of calories. Excessive fats put excess pressure on the arteries, and consequently on the heart. This increases the pressure on the arteries and the heart, indirectly causing a rise in blood pressure.
Stress ➡ Alcohol ➡ High Blood Pressure
Another factor to be taken into consideration is the combination of stress and alcohol. Stress in itself is one of the major causes of hypertension. As alcohol is a depressant, people tend to consume alcohol in order to reduce stress. Therefore, stress and excess consumption of alcohol, together, can also be risk factors for increasing the blood pressure.
Alcohol ➡ High Blood Pressure ➡ Kidney Diseases
Alcohol directly contributes in causing high blood pressure and kidney diseases. Excessive alcohol has an adverse effect on the functioning of the kidneys and damages them. On the other hand, hypertension is also one of the causes of kidney diseases, and vice versa.
➡ Alcohol also interferes with the functioning and effectiveness of hypertension medication. Therefore, if you are on medication for hypertension or for any other chronic condition, it is wise to stop drinking alcohol.
➡ If you drink large amounts of alcohol every day and stop suddenly altogether, then you may observe abnormalities in your blood pressure. It is recommended to stop drinking slowly, and using proper techniques.
Heavy drinkers are more prone to suffer from blood pressure related problems than others. Studies have shown that heavy drinkers have blood pressure higher by nearly 4 mmHg than non-drinkers. It is, therefore, essential to avoid alcohol for treating hypertension.
Effects of alcohol consumption on blood pressure differ from person to person. In some people there may only be a slight increase; while in others, there may be a drastic rise. It is observed that the effects of alcohol are similar in women as in men. But, women are at a higher risk of suffering from hypertension due to alcohol, than men. Older men, above the age of 65, are also at a greater risk of suffering from complications caused due to alcohol-induced high blood pressure.
It is observed that people who do not consume alcohol have a normal blood pressure as compared to those who have excess alcohol on regular basis. In case completely quitting alcohol is not possible, one can reduce the quantity and have alcohol in moderate amounts. Doctors advise people to have moderate amounts of alcohol, i.e, one drink per day for women and older men; and two drinks for men below age 65 (i.e., 1 small glass of lager or wine, or 12 ounces of beer, or 1 measure of spirit)
It is often argued that only certain types of alcohol drinks cause the blood pressure to rise. This is incorrect! It is not the type, but, the amount of alcohol consumed that affects the blood pressure. Having beer or wine in excess amounts will have the same effect on the blood pressure as any hard liquor.
✰ Preventive Tips
Once the amount of alcohol is reduced, a decrease in blood pressure can be noted; this is only if alcohol is the sole underlying cause. It is not easy to quit drinking immediately if a person is an alcoholic. But, following these methods will be helpful.
- You can start by keeping a check on the amount of alcohol you consume. Slowly you can decrease your daily intake and then stop drinking altogether.
- Mixing water with alcohol, so as to make the drink last longer, is a good way to prevent excessive alcohol intake.
- Alcoholism can be reduced and also completely stopped with the help of proper treatment methods and therapies.
- Following proper stress management techniques can help in reducing stress.
Disclaimer: This article is meant only to provide information and should not to substituted for doctor's advice.