Effects of alcohol use and other aspects of lifestyle on blood pressure levels and prevalence of hypertension in a working population.
The relationship between alcohol consumption and blood pressure was studied in 491 males, ages 20-45 years, who volunteered to complete a health questionnaire and submit to standardized measurements of blood pressure, heart rate and body size. Average weekly alcohol consumption correlated with systolic pressure (r = 0.18) but not diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure increased progressively with increasing alcohol consumption, with no obvious threshold effect. In moderate and heavy drinkers (53% of the population studied), the prevalence of systolic hypertension (greater than or equal to 140 mm Hg) was four times that of teetotalers. The effect of alcohol on systolic blood pressure was independent of the effects of age, obesity, cigarette smoking and physical activity. Ex-heavy drinkers had blood pressures similar to those of teetotalers, suggesting that the effect of alcohol is reversible. Cigarette smokers had lower diastolic pressures than nonsmokers, an effect independent of obesity. The linear correlation between alcohol consumption and systolic blood pressure and the lower blood pressures in exdrinkers suggest a cause-and-effect relationship. The results indicate that alcohol ranks close to obesity as a potentially preventable cause of hypertension in the community.
- Copyright © 1982 by American Heart Association