Q:

How does alcohol affect blood pressure?

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Quick Answer

Drinking more than three alcoholic drinks in one sitting temporarily increases blood pressure, and frequent binge drinking leads to an increase in long-term blood pressure, explains Mayo Clinic. Experts recommend individuals with high blood pressure avoid alcohol or only drink moderate amounts.

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How does alcohol affect blood pressure?
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Full Answer

Medical professionals consider a single drink to be 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits, notes Mayo Clinic. Experts consider moderate drinking to be two drinks a day for men under 65, one drink a day for men over 65 and one drink a day for women. Some studies have shown a small decrease in blood pressure from moderate drinking alone, according to WebMD. However, this decrease in blood pressure is not enough for a recommendation of moderate drinking. Doctors advise individuals with a family history of alcoholism, heart disease or liver disease to avoid drinking entirely.

Heavy drinkers can reduce their blood pressure significantly by reducing their drinking; however, Mayo Clinic advises heavy drinkers to gradually reduce alcohol intake rather than suddenly stop, as the sudden change in habits risks severely high blood pressure for several days.

The best way to reduce blood pressure is through diet and exercise, combined with reducing salt intake and stress, states WebMD. While moderately drinking some types of alcohol may help with some health problems, heavily drinking any type of alcohol risks increased blood pressure and related health issues.

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