Skip to content

    Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    College-Age Binge Drinkers May Face Higher BP

    Study found continued boozing was linked to elevated readings at age 24

    WebMD News from HealthDay

    By Dennis Thompson

    HealthDay Reporter

    FRIDAY, Feb. 19, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Young adults who regularly binge drink have elevated blood pressure compared to those who drink occasionally, and could wind up with high blood pressure, researchers warn in a new study.

    Among binge-drinking young adults, investigators found that systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) is 2.6 to 4 points higher compared to those who don't binge. This is enough to put some in the early stages of high blood pressure, said senior researcher Jennifer O'Loughlin.

    "Our findings show that more than one in four young adults who binge drink meet the criterion for prehypertension," she said.

    "This is worrisome because this condition can progress to hypertension, which in turn can cause heart disease and premature death," explained O'Loughlin. She is a professor of social and preventive medicine at the University of Montreal.

    Binge drinking is defined as five or more alcoholic beverages consumed on a single occasion. Previous studies in Canada and the United States have shown that about four in 10 young adults aged 18 to 24 are frequent binge drinkers, the researchers said in background notes.

    Prior research also has linked alcohol to high blood pressure, and O'Loughlin and her colleagues wanted to see if that link affected even young adults.

    Typical blood pressure among young adults is around 104 systolic, which represents the pressure in arteries when the heart beats, O'Loughlin said.

    Prehypertension -- the warning stage of high blood pressure -- is 120 to 139 systolic. People with 140 systolic or more have full-fledged high blood pressure.

    The researchers drew their data from an ongoing Canadian study on nicotine dependence, which also asked questions about drinking habits at age 20 and 24, and measured blood pressure at age 24.

    The research team compared 756 participants, looking at whether binge drinking at age 20 and 24 affected their blood pressure by age 24.

    Compared to non-binge drinkers, systolic blood pressure at age 24 was 2.6 points higher among those who continued to binge drink on a monthly basis, and 4 points higher among those who had a binge-drinking episode every week, the study found.

    Today on WebMD

    blood pressure
    Symptoms, causes, and more.
    headache
    Learn the causes.
     
    Compressed heart
    5 habits to change.
    Mature man floating in pool, goggles on head
    Exercises that help.
     
    heart healthy living
    ARTICLE
    Erectile Dysfunction Slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Bernstein Hypertension Affects Cardiac Risk
    VIDEO
    Compressed heart
    Article
     
    Heart Disease Overview Slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    thumbnail for lowering choloesterol slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Heart Foods Slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    Low Blood Pressure
    VIDEO
     

    WebMD Special Sections