People that drink two glasses a day do not have to reduce their alcohol consumption to decreases their blood pressure. That is the conclusion of a recent meta-analyse. The meta-analysis is published in the scientific journal The Lancet.

Blood pressure
The Canadian researchers1 analysed the effect of reducing alcohol consumption on blood pressure in 36 international studies. They concluded that the effect of reducing alcohol consumption was dependent on the initial alcohol consumption level: in people who had an initial high alcohol consumption (>6 glasses/day) the effect of reducing alcohol intake was stronger than in people with an initial lower consumption. In people who drank two or fewer glasses per day, a reduction in alcohol consumption does not lower blood pressure.

In perspective
It is well accepted that heavy alcohol consumption increases the blood pressure. However, research on the effects of reducing alcohol consumption on blood pressure are relatively scarce. The previous review on this topic is more than 15 years old2. The recent meta-analysis is the first to analyse the effect per alcohol consumption level. The researchers estimate that in the UK more than 650 deaths could be prevented if people limit their alcohol intake to two glasses a day.

High blood pressure
High blood pressure is defined as a blood pressure of 140/90 or above for a couple of weeks. High blood pressure hardens the walls of the arteries. This will eventually lead to atherosclerosis and this can harm other organs including the heart, brain, eyes and kidneys. Unfortunately, most people do not notice high blood pressure until other organs are affected3.

References:

  1. Roerecke, Kaczorowski, J., Tobe, S. W., Gmel, G., Hasan, O. S. M., en Rehm, J., The effect of a reduction in alcohol consumption on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis, Lancet Public Health, 2017 (2), e108-20
  2. Xin X, He J, Frontini MG, Ogden LG, Motsamai OI, Whelton PK. Effects of alcohol reduction on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Hypertension 2001; 38: 1112–17.

  3. http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/BloodPressureandyou/Thebasics/Whatishigh Consulted on 13-02-2017

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