Alcohol and Hypertension

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Has anyone had high BP with binge drinking? I read it may be chronic or acute, but I'm afraid my readings have been high for a couple of weeks even when I don't have any other medical problems or have had a history of high BP. Was also prescribed BP meds, what determines if this will be for life? Has anyone else had experiences with alcohol and hypertension?

0 likes, 14 replies

14 Replies

  • Posted

    Depends on how long you have been binge drinking. 

    Alcohol does have HPN effects if abused for long time, even if you did not have any othr health conditions. 

    • Posted

      Been having a glass of vodka everynight for a few months. Have only noticed the BP rising nowadays, if this is soley due to binge drinking, will it eventually go back down if I was to cut down or quit?
    • Posted

      That doesn't sound like much of a binge to me - although it depends on how big the glass is, of course! I have a couple of glasses of wine every night, and though my BP has inevitably gone up slightly with age, it doesn't seem to have too much of an effect. My GP knows about this, we both agree it's a bit too much, but he says as long as my liver enzymes etc. stay well within limits, as they are now, he can live with it. (And I'm 72 so my liver doesn't have to last another 50 years!)

      Binge drinking is normally defined as when you drink nothing during the week then get completely plastered at the weekend. It's generally thought that it's far more harmful to drink a large amount in one or two nights than the same amount spread over the week. Though as I said, it does depend on the size of the glass. One, possibly two, shots of vodka would be OK in my book (and my GP's) but obviously if you're talking about a tumbler, then you need to cut back.

    • Posted

      It's in a whiskey glass, and ya I should probably cut down either ways. Only time I don't drink is when I have a doctors appt next day or so, then I avoid drinking the night before. My BP shot up quite a bit to around 168/119, I usually am around the 130s/85s, so I had some blood work and tests done and everything came back normal, so that's a relief to say the least.

      My BP has been constantly up tho which worries me, maybe it's cause the age or a sudden change in lifestyle. Been sober for a week now since the BP meds, might have to start drinking only on the weekends. Although the binging might be more harmful, but don't think I could tolerate drinking while on meds, so might have to skip a dose or too only when drinking or until I get my BP under control. Although just quitting drinking would be the best, but that's not the easiest thing that can be done either.

    • Posted

      Mostly the liver get effected from binge drinking and it is easily reversed from removing this insult to liver. However, BP reversal is a little more involved and involves exercise, yoga, meditation and stress reduction. 
    • Posted

      Really a bad idea to skip a dose of BP meds, as it can cause your BP to spike, which is potentially dangerous. Normally there's no bar to drinking small amounts of alcohol alongside BP meds.

      I know what you mean about quitting drinking! What I didn't tell you is that 25 years ago I was consistently drinking one-and-a-half bottles of wine every evening. Sometimes even two. (I've never drunk any kind of alcohol during the day and never wanted to.) That went on for about five years, during which time I held down a very busy job with no apparent problems.

      Then a colleague took me aside and pointed out that everyone could smell alcohol on my breath when I came in every day. Not because I was drinking in the morning of course, but because I was necking so much every evening I hadn't cleared it from my system the following day. I hasten to add I don't drive, and always take public transport. If I'd been breathalysed on my way to work I'd have tested over the limit in spite of being stone-cold sober!

      Well, I was mortified. Like you, I knew I wouldn't find it easy to stop so I set about systematically reducing the amount I drank by starting my drinking a bit later every evening. And it worked. Over the next year or two I was down to two-thirds of a bottle of wine per night and my blood tests were coming back clean. I've slowly been reducing it further ever since but find it really hard to kick the habit entirely. The crazy thing is that if I really can't drink - like when I was in hospital after a non-alcohol-related accident - I don't even think about it.

      I'll probably never get it down to the recommended limit, but at my age I figure we all gotta die of something! But it's a different story if you're young, of course...

    • Posted

      I was going to ask, why drink at all? Why is it so important. Then I saw this post. If it's not the easiest thing to do, then you my friend have a drinking problem. Perhaps consider AA?


  • Posted

    It would appear my earlier post has disappeared. Here is one of the myths from heart org:

    Myth: I read that wine is good for the heart, which means I can drink as much as I want.

    If you drink alcohol, including red wine, do so in moderation. Heavy and regular use of alcohol can increase blood pressure dramatically. It can also cause heart failure, lead to stroke and produce irregular heartbeats. Too much alcohol can contribute to high triglycerides, cancer, obesity, alcoholism, suicide and accidents. If you drink, limit consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. Generally, one drink equals a 12-ounce beer, a four-ounce glass of wine, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor, or one ounce of hard liquor (100 proof).

    THere is a simple way to test it:  just stop drinking for a few weeks and then see what it does to your blood pressure. Vodka has a lot more actual alcohol than a glass of wine and some of us are more susceptible to its effects than others, like everything else.


    • Posted

      You make some good points, Margaret, but I don't think many people interpret the advice on red wine possibly being beneficial to the heart as meaning they can drink as much as they like. I certainly don't and wouldn't advocate it to anyone else.

      I suspect you may be British. It seems to me that the English-speaking nations have a very unhealthy attitude to alcohol, possibly not helped by a tendency to demonise its consumption as well. This can be counterproductive, leading people to disregard advice that seems overly strict to them. (And the same point could be made on the dietary front.)

      A year ago, I took a British on-line test on drinking. There were just a couple questions, concerning how many units I drank and how often. As expected, the result told me I had a very serious drinking problem. Clearly, anyone drinking 2 or more units of alcohol per day would have been told the same thing, as the test didn't ask any other questions.

      I then took a Belgian on-line test. This one had about 15 questions, starting off with amounts and frequency of intake, naturally. Then it went on to a series of other questions. Was my drinking affecting my health, my relationships, my ability to do my job? Was I having difficulty remembering what I'd done while under the influence the night before? Concentration problems? Convictions for alcohol-related offences? And so on and so forth. On hitting the results button I was told I was a "responsible drinker" but sensibly warned not to increase my drinking any further.

      I responded to both tests using my current drinking levels of around 4 units per day, of course, not the aforementioned excesses of 25 years ago.

      I have dual nationality, was born in Britain, lived most of my adult life in Belgium but spend at least a month in the UK every year, as well as keeping up with friends and following the UK news on-line and on TV. I therefore have a pretty good overview of social mores and conditions in both countries. Sadly, it's my native country that scores much higher when it comes to alchohol-related illnesses and public disorder - especially among the young. This seems to be true of all English-speaking countries, as well as Sweden, which also has a prohibitive attitude to drinking. I think there's a message in there somewhere.

      I'm not saying countries like Belgium, France, Italy etc. don't have any problems. Sadly, alcohol-related problems arose as soon as early man learned the art of fermenting, and will always be with us. Every time I go to my local cash-and-carry I walk past a sad little knot of bleary-eyed men - and the occasional woman - sitting on the low wall outside, swigging cheap wine straight from the bottle. And I do see large groups of cheerfully inebriated students every November, during their equivalent of UK "rag week".

      What I don't see is the huge crowd of fighting, vomiting teenagers I saw every single night during the two months my mother lay dying in a hospital in the Home Counties. I spent every afternoon and evening with her, walking back through the town centre to catch the last bus at 9pm. Each night, even on weekdays but worse at weekends, I passed the same appalling scenes: young people, some possibly as young as 14 or 15 (and girls in the majority) fighting, screaming, swearing, vomiting, even lying unconscious in the gutter.

      The hardline British approach to drinking (and diet - most Continentals eat much healthier) clearly hasn't worked. Perhaps it's time to try something different?

    • Posted

      Heavy drinking, isn't so much an English speaking thing. Countries from the more northerly (and probably southerly) colder climes will always be the heavier drinkers. I alwways found that whenever I went on holiday to warmer climes, I used to eat more salads, drink lighter beer or wine.

      All countries have their own problems. I'm glad I don't live in Molenbeek.

    • Posted

      I'm Canadian and I'm not totally sure I got the point of your message. The OP asked about drinking affecting BP. It does. And nothwithstanding online tests or how many units per day, if one has a problem stopping their drinking, it's called an addiction. I do drink, occassionally and simply don't see the advantages or the point to doing it daily. Aside from being expensive, it seems to have move disadvantages.

  • Posted

    Yes, alcohol - regular or heavy drinking pushes BP up.

    And yes, I speak from experience.

    • Posted

      Hello there! Haven't heard from you for a long time. How're you doing?cheesygrin

    • Posted

      Well, I am still alive. Apart from blacking out a few times and spending a night in A&E last September (they decided it was just syncope in the end), I'm fine. A&E ward is like Beruit, especially as I chose Friday night, it really is an experience.

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