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Just one alcoholic drink a day can increase men’s risk of developing high blood pressure, warns a new study.
The findings debunk previous research that suggested a small tipple can protect the heart of a healthy adult.
Long-term research from the American Heart Association (AHA) found even moderate daily drinking can lead to potential heart attacks in men not yet suffering from high blood pressure. Women were not affected.
Now experts are recommending that people who do not drink already should not start and that drinking alcohol in any form to gain potential “health benefits” is not advisable.
The study, which covered data from nearly 20,000 people across the US, Korea and Japan, showed that blood pressure rises over the years alongside a rise in daily alcohol consumption.
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The more a person drinks each day, the higher the risk of developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Even low-level consumption of alcohol was found to contribute towards detectable increases in blood pressure levels.
This could potentially lead to higher risks of cardiovascular “events” such as heart attacks, strokes and heart failure. Researchers analysed data from seven large, observational studies comprising a total of 19,548 adults aged between 20 and 70, collected between 1997 and 2021.
The majority of the adults (65 percent) were male.
None of the participants had been previously diagnosed with high blood pressure or any other cardiovascular diseases – nor diabetes, liver disease, alcoholism or binge drinking.
Dr Marco Vinceti, of Boston University School of Public Health, said: “Alcohol is certainly not the sole driver of increases in blood pressure. However, our findings confirm it contributes in a meaningful way.
“Limiting alcohol intake is advised and avoiding it is even better.”
The AHA does not recommend drinking “any form of alcohol” in order to gain potential health benefits.
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