Alcohol and Lowering Blood Pressure

Last reviewed: 25 Feb 2022

Medically Reviewed By: Dr Jay Shah

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Drinking alcohol has a significant short and long term impact on blood pressure levels. It’s important to manage your blood pressure to avoid strokes, heart attacks and many other health implications.

Unfortunately, the symptoms of high blood pressure tend to go unnoticed and many individuals are living with the condition unknowingly. Read below to find out the effects of alcohol on your blood pressure.

Does alcohol raise blood pressure?

Yes, drinking alcohol, above the low risk guideline of over 14 units per week, is one of the main causes for high blood pressure (hypertension). Drinking more than three drinks in one sitting will increase blood pressure levels temporarily and repeated binge drinking will increase blood pressure to sustained and unhealthy levels. 

When a person gains hypertension from alcohol the pressure of blood pushing against the blood vessels walls are too high because drinking alcohol narrows your arteries. 

A healthy heart will pump blood around the body steadily and at a low pressure. When blood pressure is high the heart has to work overtime to pump harder. This is to ensure that the arteries can carry blood that’s flowing through the body under great pressure. The ongoing strain on your heart and arteries increases the likelihood of suffering from a stroke, heart attack, kidney disease and so much more. 

Unfortunately, hypertension is known as the “silent killer” because it rarely has noticeable signs or symptoms, yet the negative effects are still occuring within your body. Drinking within the risk guidelines is extremely important to keeping the effects of hypertension down.

How to reduce your alcohol intake to reduce your blood pressure

To understand how much alcohol falls under the ‘too much’ category, we’ll unpack the definitions of excessive drink for men and women.

Men and women should not exceed 14 units of alcohol per week. It’s also advised to spread the intake across three days or more:

  • 14 single measures of spirits | (250ml) 40% ABV
  • 6 glasses of wine | (175ml) 13% ABV
  • 6 pints of ordinary strength beer/cider/lager | (568ml) 4% ABV

Another way to measure your units is to use the following equation:

Strength (Alcohol By Volume or ABV) x volume of the drink (in millilitres) ÷ 1,000 = Total number of units in the drink

Disclaimer: the drinks you pour at home may be larger than what is served at pubs/bars.

Blood Pressure Monitor

If you yourself, or if you know someone who is struggling with over consumption of alcohol, seek help and guidance from a healthcare professional. The long term and short term effects are severe, and unfortunately symptoms tend to go unnoticed for a quarter of the nation affected.

As it’s a silent killer, having a blood pressure monitor on hand is advised. Our Aktiia 24/7 blood pressure monitor is the perfect data driven choice. This monitor will help unlock insights 24/7 that will help you and your doctor come up with an action plan for your health.

Aktiia Team Written by The Aktiia Team

Our mission is to help people live free from hypertension.

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