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Can Alcohol Cause High Blood Pressure?

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Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV.

how alcohol affects blood pressure - blood pressure checking

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common health concern affecting millions of people worldwide. It is often referred to as a silent killer because it can develop over time without any noticeable symptoms.

There are a range of factors that can contribute to high blood pressure, including diet, lifestyle, and genetics. Another key cause of high blood pressure is alcohol. But how does alcohol affect your blood pressure, and how much alcohol is too much?

That’s what we’ll be exploring today. Read on to learn more about the links between alcohol and blood pressure, as well as the risks of high blood pressure and how you can lower your blood pressure by embracing sobriety.

 

How Alcohol Can Affect Your Blood Pressure

When you drink alcohol in moderation, it may not necessarily lead to high blood pressure. However, excessive or heavy drinking over time can significantly increase the risk of high blood pressure.

When you consume alcohol, it enters your bloodstream and affects various organs and systems in your body, including your cardiovascular system.

One of the main ways that alcohol affects blood pressure is by impacting your blood vessels. Drinking too much alcohol can cause the blood vessels to constrict, leading to a temporary increase in blood pressure. Over time, this strain on the blood vessels can contribute to hypertension.

Alcohol abuse can also lead to weight gain and obesity - and these are both significant risk factors for high blood pressure. Excess weight can put added pressure on the heart, forcing it to work harder to pump blood throughout the body, which, in turn, can raise your blood pressure.

Additionally, alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of certain blood pressure medications. This means that if you’re a heavy drinker, it can be more difficult to control hypertension.

 

What Level of Alcohol Consumption is Bad for Blood Pressure?

The amount of alcohol you consume can have a huge impact on your blood pressure. The NHS guidelines recommend that adults should not regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week to keep health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level.

If you drink as much as 14 units per week, it's best to spread this evenly over three days or more. However, exceeding this limit can be damaging to your blood pressure and overall health.

Binge drinking can be especially damaging to your health. It can not only raise your blood pressure in the short term but increase your risk of developing long-term hypertension.

 

Signs Alcohol is Impacting My Blood Pressure

It can be difficult to know for sure whether alcohol is impacting your blood pressure. This is because hypertension can often develop without any noticeable symptoms.

That being said, there are some signs that heavy drinking may be affecting your blood pressure:

  • Frequent headaches - alcohol-induced hypertension can cause headaches, especially in the mornings after a night of heavy drinking.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness - excessive alcohol consumption can lead to fluctuations in blood pressure, resulting in feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • Fatigue and tiredness - chronic high blood pressure can lead to fatigue and a general feeling of weakness, which can make it more difficult to perform daily activities.
  • Vision problems - hypertension can damage the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to vision problems such as blurred vision or even vision loss.

 

If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to consult with a healthcare professional to assess your blood pressure and discuss potential lifestyle changes.

The Risks of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, can pose serious risks to your health if left uncontrolled. When your blood pressure is consistently high, it puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels, increasing your risk of strokes and heart attacks.

Over time, high blood pressure can damage the walls of your arteries, making them narrower and less flexible. This can then reduce blood flow to vital organs such as your:

  • Brain
  • Kidneys
  • Heart

 

In turn, this can increase the risk of organ damage and failure. Hypertension can also cause vision problems, including vision loss, and contribute to the development of conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease.

Managing your blood pressure through abstaining from alcohol, medication and regular monitoring can help to reduce these risks and protect your overall health.

 

How Can I Reduce My Blood Pressure?

If you're concerned about your blood pressure, the good news is that there are several steps you can take to help lower it:

Limit your alcohol consumption or quit drinking - If you’re a heavy drinker, quitting alcohol or reducing your alcohol intake can help to lower your blood pressure. Be sure to stay within the recommended guidelines and avoid drinking more than 14 units of alcohol per week.

Maintain a healthy weight - If you are obese or are experiencing health issues due to your weight, consider a weight loss programme to help you lose weight and lower your blood pressure. A combination of diet and exercise always works best.

Eat a balanced diet - What you feed your body matters, especially when it comes to lowering your blood pressure. Consume plenty of healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, and reduce your consumption of heavily processed foods, salt, and added sugars.

Exercise regularly - Regular physical activity can help to lower your blood pressure. Try to exercise for at least 150 minutes per week if you’re looking to get your blood pressure under control.

Manage stress - Although there is no evidence to suggest that stress can affect your blood pressure in the long-term, it can temporarily cause your blood pressure to spike. Managing stress through meditation, deep breathing exercises or yoga may help to reduce your blood pressure.

Monitor your blood pressure - Be sure to keep track of your blood pressure with a blood pressure monitor, and notify your doctor if you notice any sudden changes or concerning trends.

 

Control Your Drinking Today With Help4Addiction

If you’re struggling to cut down on your drinking or you feel as though alcohol has taken over your life, we’re here to help.

At Help4Addiction, we can connect you with the most suitable alcohol rehab provider for you. Whether you’re on a budget or you’re looking for something more luxurious, whether you’re looking for inpatient residential rehab or outpatient or online rehab, we can secure you a place.

When you seek help and contact our team, you’re taking the first step towards overcoming alcohol addiction. Take control of your health, your drinking and your life today today with Help4Addiction.

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