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Too Much Alcohol Can Lead to High Blood Pressure

This is the fourth in a series of articles discussing high blood pressure and what you can do to reduce your risk.

Question: Who is more likely to develop high blood pressure?

The person who unwinds every night with a few cocktails or the one who waits until the weekend rolls around and binge drinks?

Answer: Both

Alcohol consumption can make blood pressure rise. Over time, people who drink excessively increase their risk for high blood pressure. Excessive drinking is more than two drinks a day for a man and more than one drink a day for a woman.

High blood pressure – defined as 140/90 mm Hg or higher – is dangerous. It increases risk for heart disease – the leading cause of death among Laborers – stroke, kidney disease, congestive heart failure and a host of other serious health conditions.

Excessive drinkers who cut back to moderate drinking – no more than two drinks a day for a man and one drink for a woman – are often able to lower their blood pressure.

A standard drink is any drink that contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol (about 0.6 fluid ounces). Typically, this is the amount of alcohol in:

  • A 12-ounce bottle or can of beer
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey)

Reduce your risk for high blood pressure. If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. And if you have high blood pressure and are taking prescription medications, talk to your health care provider about drinking, as alcohol can interact with certain blood pressure medications.

The LHSFNA has a number of publications and posters pertaining to the dangers of alcohol. Order them through the Fund’s website by clicking on Publications.

LHSFNA Health Fairs Offer High Blood Pressure Screenings

LHSFNA Health Fairs are opportunities to have members’ blood pressure and other medical concerns checked for free without having them take time off to go elsewhere for screenings. To request assistance, print and complete the top portion of the Health Screening Event Request Form and fax it back to Jamie Becker’s attention at 202-628-2613 or call 202-628-5465.

[Janet Lubman Rathner]

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