This article shares practical insights from Dr. Phung Ngoc Minh Tan, a Cardiology specialist at CarePlus Clinic Vietnam, based on questions often asked by patients during health check-ups. These insights will serve as a wake-up call for everyone. Love yourself and raise awareness about community health.
🍻"Does drinking alcohol affect blood pressure?" Many patients who come for health check-ups often ask this question...
And the answer from doctors is usually a firm YES. Because if a healthy person drinks a few beers during a gathering, it can temporarily raise blood pressure.
▪️ If consumed excessively and without control over an extended period, it can keep blood pressure consistently high.
▪️ People who are being treated for high blood pressure may experience higher blood pressure and heart rate for about 1-2 days after drinking beer.
WHAT IS HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
You can understand it briefly like this - High blood pressure, often referred to as hypertension, is a condition where the blood flow pressure in the arteries is elevated. This is a dangerous condition that damages the heart, blood vessels, brain, eyes, kidneys, and many other chronic diseases, and is the main cause of premature death worldwide.
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH TO DRINK?
▪️ one alcohol unit is equivalent to 1 can of beer (330ml) or 1 glass of red wine. For ease of understanding, we'll use beer cans in this article.
▪️ Heavy drinking is when men consume more than 4 cans per day and women consume more than 3 cans daily.
▪️ In 2 hours, men drinking more than 5 cans and women drinking more than 4 cans are considered harmful. This is the kind of binge drinking often seen in social gatherings.
"I HEARD RED WINE IS GOOD FOR THE HEART. SHOULD I DRINK A LOT TO KEEP MY HEART HEALTHY?"
▪️ As of now (2023), there is not enough evidence to suggest that actively drinking alcohol reduces the risk of heart disease.
▪️ Consuming large and frequent amounts of alcohol can raise blood pressure.
▪️ Heavy alcohol addiction is linked to heart failure, stroke, arrhythmias, high blood triglyceride levels, cancer, and traffic accidents.
▪️ Beer and wine are high in calories and can lead to weight gain. Alcohol can interact with heart medications, affecting their effectiveness.
HOW TO DRINK ALCOHOL TO BENEFIT YOUR HEALTH?
▪️ If you've never drunk alcohol before, don't start now.
▪️ If you still want to drink, you must know your limits. Men should not exceed 2 alcohol units per day, and women should not exceed 1 alcohol unit per day.
▪️ Avoid binge drinking. Savor your drinks slowly 😃
BENEFITS OF REDUCING/QUITTING ALCOHOL FOR BLOOD PRESSURE?
▪️ For heavy alcohol addicts, reducing alcohol intake to recommended levels (less than 2 cans for men, less than 1 can for women) can reduce blood pressure readings by about 5-10 mmHg. This benefit can be compared to taking a small dose of blood pressure medication.
High blood pressure is often called the "silent killer" because it usually has no apparent symptoms until complications like heart attacks, strokes, or kidney failure occur. So, if you have a habit of heavy and frequent alcohol consumption and struggle to control your blood pressure, the most basic thing you can do is reduce alcohol intake and pay more attention to your health.