Drinking Alcohol May Benefit High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Patients
Drinking in moderation reduces deaths from cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks and strokes among men with hypertension or high blood pressure, according to a major research study.
The study was taken from the medical histories of almost 100,000 subjects. Those men with high blood pressure who consumed one to six drinks per week has a 39% lower risk of death from cardiovascular causes than were abstainers. Those who averaged one or two drinks each day were 44% less likely to experience such death.
Medical research has already demonstrated that moderate drinking reduces heart attacks and strokes in the general population by raising levels of high-density lipoprotein or “good cholesterol: and by reducing blood clotting. This study indicates that the same benefits appear to apply to men with hypertension. The investigators believe the results would also apply to women, but further research is needed.
Dr. J. Michael Gaziano and his colleagues did not recommend that abstainers with hypertension begin drinking without consulting their physicians. However, they emphasize that hypertension patients who drink in moderation have no reason to change their custom and eliminate the potential health benefits of drinking alcohol.
- Malinski, M.K., Sesso, H.D., Lopez-Jimenez, F., Buring, J.E., and Gaziano, M. Alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease mortality in hypertensive men. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2004, 164(6), 623.)
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