Everyone wants to avoid a hangover because, quite frankly, it’s a rather miserable experience. Depending on the severity of the hangover you can be stuck in bed for an entire day, unable to do much of anything. Yes, hangovers feel terrible, but they are also terrible for you. Today, we’re going to look at one of the common side effects of drinking that many people are not aware of–blood pressure.
To fully understand why this matters, you need to understand what high-blood pressure is and how it can affect your body. Blood pressure is the measure of force on the vascular walls that results from how hard your heart pumps blood. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, affects about 33% of American adults, with many more diagnosed as “pre-hypertensive”. Over time, high blood pressure leads to an increased risk of strokes and heart disease.
Consuming alcohol can have two different kinds of effects on your blood pressure: short term and long-term effects. For example, consuming three or more drinks in a setting will temporarily increase your blood pressure, but your blood pressure will go back to normal over time. However, repeated binge drinking can lead to long-term increases in your blood pressure, which can lead to a whole host of other problems.
Not only can consuming a lot of alcohol lead to high blood pressure problems, it can also exacerbate a problem that already exists. The calories in alcohol can contribute to weight gain, which is another big problem for those trying to get their blood pressure under control. Binge drinking can also scar the liver, which makes your heart have to work harder to pump blood through the organ. Alcohol can also hinder the effectiveness of various blood pressure medications, compounding an existing problem.
Thankfully, the damage done by binge drinking in your past can be reversed if you get your habits under control now. Heavy drinkers who want to lower blood pressure need to be careful about stopping cold turkey. In fact, a heavy drinker who suddenly stops could easily develop severe high blood pressure for several days. Heavy drinkers who want to slow down to help with their blood pressure should slowly reduce how much they drink over one to two weeks.
If you have high blood pressure, avoid alcohol or drink alcohol only in moderation. Moderate drinking is generally considered to be:
- Two drinks a day for men younger than age 65
- One drink a day for men age 65 and older
- One drink a day for women of any age
No, drinking alone is not responsible for hypertension but it can significantly compound the problem, and is certainly a contributing factor. If you are a heavy drinker, take the time to get your bloodwork done and work with our doctor on a plan to get your blood pressure back to a healthy level. Of course, it’s ok to drink occasionally, but consistent heavy drinking is a problem. For the nights that lead to rough mornings remember to drink water and try Intelligent Drinking’s Primer product. Visit www.intelligentdrinking.com for more information.