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Alcohol And Hypertension: Can You Still Drink Alcohol If You're Hypertensive?

    Alcohol And Hypertension: Can You Still Drink Alcohol If You're Hypertensive?

    Liquor ads always remind us to drink in moderation, but what if you have an underlying condition, like high blood pressure? Can you still have alcoholic beverages? Here’s what you need to know about alcohol and hypertension.

    The Rule, Drink in Moderation, Still Applies to People with Hypertension

    If you’re hypertensive, chances are, your doctor asked you to avoid alcohol or, at the very least, make sure that you’re not drinking too much.

    You see, drinking too much raises the blood pressure to unhealthy levels.

    For instance, having more than three drinks in one sitting may increase your BP temporarily. But, if you repeatedly binge drink, you might have long-term increases.

    The bottom line is, drinking in moderation is a rule that still applies to people with high blood pressure.

    Drinking in Moderation, Defined

    We cannot talk about alcohol and hypertension without defining what drinking in moderation means. Whenever you drink alcohol, remember the following guidelines:

    • Moderate drinking only amounts to one drink per day for women or up to two drinks daily for men.
    • Binge drinking indicates four or more drinks within two hours for ladies or five or more drinks within two hours for gentlemen.
    • Heavy drinking is equivalent to more than three drinks daily for women or more than four drinks a day for men.

    Further Explanation on What Counts as One Drink

    There may seem to be a negative connection between alcohol and hypertension, but for many experts, it’s all about moderation.

    But drinking in moderation can be quite confusing, especially if you don’t know how much is one standard drink.

    Note that one drink is not equivalent to one glass. To determine how much is one standard drink, you need to determine how much alcohol your drink contains. Basically, one drink means:

    • 5 ounces (148 ml) of wine, which contains about 12% alcohol
    • 12 ounces (355 ml) of regular beer, which has about 5% alcohol
    • 1.5 ounces (44 ml) of distilled spirit, which contains about 40% alcohol

    The bottom line is, whenever you want a drink, you need to determine the alcohol content first.

    What About Red Wine?

    Does the negative connection between alcohol and hypertension soften up if the drink in question is red wine?

    The short answer is no. While many studies point out that red wine has many benefits due to its antioxidant content, you still need to consume it in moderation.

    Additional Things to Know About Alcohol and Hypertension

    Besides drinking in moderation, please note that there are other dangers to drinking alcohol if you’re hypertensive.

    For one, drinking alcohol may result in weight gain, which is a major risk factor for hypertension. Of course, liquor can also interact with your hypertensive medications.

    To avoid the negative consequences of drinking alcohol while you have hypertension, talk to your doctor about the type of liquor you can drink, how much to have, and when to have it.

    Finally, don’t forget that controlled liquor consumption is just one factor in making sure you reach your target blood pressure. A heart-healthy diet and regular exercise are also crucial. Moreover, if you have maintenance medicines, you need to take them as prescribed.

    Key Takeaways

    What’s the connection between alcohol and hypertension? According to experts, people with high blood pressure should avoid or at least limit alcohol intake. If they want to drink, they have to do so in moderation.

    As a general rule, women should not have more than one drink per day. Men should only have up to two drinks daily. Note that the amount of one drink differs as it depends on the alcohol content of the drink.

    Learn more about Hypertension here.


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    Alcohol: Does it affect blood pressure?
    Accessed September 9, 2021

    Limiting Alcohol to Manage High Blood Pressure
    https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/limiting-alcohol-to-manage-high-blood-pressure Accessed September 9, 2021

    Alcohol-induced hypertension: Mechanism and prevention
    Accessed September 9, 2021

    Alcohol and Hypertension
    Accessed September 9, 2021

    What Is A Standard Drink?
    Accessed September 9, 2021

    Picture of the authorbadge
    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Jul 25
    Medically reviewed by Martha Juco, MD
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