Tuesday, June 10, 2008

If You Want To Stay Away From Hypertension, Don’t Drink!

If you are an alcohol lover, you may want to think twice before you start your next cup of drink. Why do I say this?

A recent study conducted by the researcher at the University of Bristol's Department of Social Medicine reported that people who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol might raise their blood pressure more than what was expected before. Their findings were published on March 4, 2008 in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine.

High blood pressure or hypertension affects more than a billion adults worldwide. If it is not well managed, it can eventually lead to heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure and stroke.

In the study, people with a genetic mutation that makes it difficult to consume alcohol had significantly lower blood pressure than that of those regular or heavy drinkers. People who had no mutation and consumed about 3 drinks per day had 'strikingly' higher blood pressure than people with the genetic change who tended to drink only small amounts or nothing at all.

It was also discovered that there was more than a two-fold risk for high blood pressure among drinkers and a 70 percent increased risk for 'quite modest' drinkers compared to people with the genetic mutation.

This study shows that alcohol intake may increase blood pressure largely, even among moderate drinkers, than previously thought.

In previous studies, heavy drinking had been linked with high blood pressure. Nevertheless, some health experts have even suggested that moderate alcohol intake provides health benefits such as lower cholesterol.

The genetic mutation is common in some Asian populations. These people are discouraged to drink because alcohol causes them facial flushing, nausea, drowsiness, headache and other unpleasant symptoms.

By comparing people with such mutation and volunteers without the genetic variation could help the researchers to better gauge long-term effects of drinking.

The researchers also concern that reporting of alcohol (in other studies) is likely to conceal considerable error, which may be differential. For example, people who have been advised to reduce alcohol intake for medical reasons may under-report alcohol intake.

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