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To Drink or Not to Drink: High Blood Pressure and Alcohol


Too Much of a Good Thing

Your age and other risk factors linked to heart and blood pressure health will ultimately aid your decision with your doctor about drinking. But don't expect any “all clears” for anything beyond light-moderate drinking.

Having more than two drinks in a day may raise your blood pressure. Drinking more than one or two drinks in a sitting has been directly linked to a rapid rise in blood pressure, which in someone with very high levels of hypertension can lead to stroke.

“It doesn’t matter what beverage if you have a high risk, it’s all about the amount,” Klatsky says. “There’s plenty of research that shows heavy beer drinkers, heavy wine drinkers, it doesn’t matter, they are all at risk of increasing high blood pressure when drinking in excess.”

Klatsky says his biggest concern is that patients keep an open dialogue with their doctors about their lifestyle to achieve an authentic diagnosis.

“One rule doesn’t fit everyone,” he says, “so talk to your doctor about how your high blood pressure -- and the rest of you -- can determine your consumption choices.”

Reviewed on June 26, 2014
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