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Drinking This Twice a Day Could Spike Your Blood Pressure, Study Finds

Sipping on eight or more alcoholic beverages a week may increase risk of hypertension in those with type 2 diabetes.
Man relaxing with bourbon whiskey drink alcoholic beverage in hand and using mobile smartphone

Some people look forward to that end-of-day beer, cocktail, or glass of wine or whiskey, especially after a long day of work. However, when that single drink regularly turns into two or three, you can put yourself at a higher risk of adverse health outcomes. New research suggests this is especially the case for adults living with type 2 diabetes.

A new study published by the American Heart Association revealed that people who have type 2 diabetes and drink between eight and 14 alcoholic drinks a week increased the odds of elevating their high blood pressure by 79%. This same group also increased their risk of developing Stage 1 high blood pressure by 66% and Stage 2 high blood pressure by 62%. (Related: What Happens to Your Body When You Drink a Smoothie Every Day)

"This is the first large study to specifically investigate the association of alcohol intake and hypertension among adults with Type 2 diabetes," said senior study author Matthew J. Singleton, M.D., M.B.E., M.H.S., M.Sc., chief electrophysiology fellow at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. "Previous studies have suggested that heavy alcohol consumption was associated with high blood pressure, however, the association of moderate alcohol consumption with high blood pressure was unclear."

The study followed more than 10,000 adults with type 2 diabetes, 61% of whom were male, and the average age being about 63 years old. Each participant had type 2 diabetes for an average of 10 years prior to enrolling in this study in addition to already being at high risk for cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke or cardiovascular disease.

Participants fell into one of three categories: light alcohol consumption or one to seven drinks per week, moderate consumption or eight to 14 drinks, and finally heavy consumption, which is 15 or more drinks per week. For reference, one alcoholic beverage is equivalent to 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer.

Light drinking was not linked to any elevated blood pressure, but heavy alcohol consumption was associated with an increased risk of 91%. It also hiked up participants' odds of developing Stage 1 high blood pressure by 149% and Stage 2 high blood pressure by a whopping 204%.

"Though light to moderate alcohol consumption may have positive effects on cardiovascular health in the general adult population, both moderate and heavy alcohol consumption appear to be independently associated with higher odds of high blood pressure among those with Type 2 diabetes," Singleton said.

So, if you have type 2 diabetes consider limiting your consumption of alcohol to seven drinks a week (or less) to promote heart health and help stave off heart disease.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more