Alcohol, do we know the facts?
Every day we see the impact of hazardous, dangerous and dependent alcohol consumption – we see lives severely affected by addiction, its health and social impacts and the devastating harm it causes to families and relationships. However, our services work to change this.
Educating people on the dangers of hazardous alcohol consumption can make a big difference and help stop lives being blighted by addiction. This week is Alcohol Awareness Week, with the particular theme of alcohol and its relation to health. Each day we will be sharing facts and information about alcohol and its influencing role in many health issues – read on and share and promote these messages.
Alcohol and Hypertension
Alcohol is a great contributor to hypertension – sustained high blood pressure. Although hypertension rarely exhibits any symptoms, it is particularly dangerous if left untreated. Hypertension results in the heart working harder to pump sufficient blood around the body. Without treatment, hypertension can increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, vascular dementia (dementia caused by not enough blood being able to get to the brain) and chronic kidney disease. There is a well-documented relationship between alcohol and hypertension. The more alcohol someone consumes, the increased likelihood that their blood pressure will rise.
Drinking just one drink a day can increase blood pressure, and two or three drinks increases the risk of hypertension. It is a myth that drinking red wine affects blood pressure any differently than drinking beer, spirits, cider etc. Reducing alcohol consumption lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of hypertension. This means alcohol is one of the most important and preventable risk factors related to hypertension, and reducing consumption is a reliable way of improving health. Additionally, lowering blood pressure also reduces the risk of developing associated illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, strokes, vascular dementia and chronic kidney disease.
- Hypertension is experienced by more than 1 in 4 adults in England. Currently, around 5 million people in England are unaware they suffer from it.
- Though hypertension is largely preventable, it costs the NHS over £2 billion a year.
- Hypertension is one of the most prevalent alcohol-related health conditions in over 35s.
- Drinking just one drink a day increases the risk of hypertension. Two or three drinks a day increases the risk substantially. More than 3 drinks a day can increase the risk of developing hypertension by up to 75%.
- It is a myth that drinking red wine in moderation has health benefits and affects your health and blood pressure no less than other sources of alcohol, e.g. beer, spirits, cider etc.
It is clear that alcohol consumption contributes to the development of hypertension. One of the best ways to reduce the risk of people developing hypertension and lowering blood pressure is to limit alcohol consumption and raise awareness of the link amongst the wider public.
As a charity dealing with these issues every day, we are the experts by experience – we see the results of alcohol dependence, but importantly, work to rectify them. We are committed to raising awareness of the dangers of hazardous alcohol consumption, preventing addiction and ensuring people are aware of the risks.