Best alcohol for high blood pressure: Can it help?

First, there was the possibility of undesired bias and imprecision due to imputations of missing statistics. Most of the included studies did not report the standard error (SE)/standard deviation (SD) of the mean difference (MD) for the outcomes of interest. As described in our protocol, when we were unable to obtain the required SE/SD from study authors or by calculation from the reported P value or 95% CI, we imputed data according to the pre‐specified how alcohol affects blood pressure imputation hierarchy. We most often used the reported endpoint SE/SD value to impute the SE/SD of MD. This is known to provide a good approximation of the SD of change in BP so is unlikely to lead to bias. Also, only 10 out of 32 studies reported changes in MAP after alcohol consumption along with SE/SD (Buckman 2015; Dumont 2010; Foppa 2002; Karatzi 2005; Karatzi 2013; Kojima 1993; Maufrais 2017; Maule 1993; Narkiewicz 2000; Van De Borne 1997).

We wanted to quantify the effects of a single dose of alcohol on blood pressure and heart rate within 24 hours of consumption. The vast majority of research has measured the impact of alcohol reduction on blood pressure as a function of allocation to an alcohol reduction arm in a highly controlled and experimental fashion. While an experimental manipulation was present, it was non-interventional in that no additional educational or motivational resources were provided. Importantly, these studies do not include any observational or epidemiological studies, which are not the focus of the current review. Alcohol can temporarily increase your heart rate, and it doesn’t take much for it to happen.

Hypertension and Alcohol

Because women could be affected differently by alcohol than men, future RCTs in women are needed. If future RCTs include both men and women, it is important that their blood pressure and heart rate readings are reported separately. Although eligible studies included East Asian, Latino, and Caucasian populations, they lacked African, South Asian, and Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander representation. Most of the hypertensive participants in the included studies were Japanese, so it is unclear if the difference in blood pressure between alcohol and placebo groups was due to the presence of genetic variants or the presence of hypertension. Large RCTs including both hypertensive and normotensive participants with various ethnic backgrounds are required to understand the effects of alcohol on blood pressure and heart rate based on ethnicity and the presence of hypertension.

It is recommended that there should be at least 10 studies reporting each of the subgroups in question (Deeks 2011). Among the 34 included studies, only four studies included hypertensive participants. So, it was not possible to conduct a subgroup analysis based on blood pressure. For the planned subgroup analysis based on sex, no study reported male and female participant data separately. The carry‐over effect in a cross‐over trial can confound the effects of subsequent treatment.

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The study also didn’t look at how different types of alcohol influenced blood pressure. Some data relied on self-reporting; further data could include more diverse samples. Studies have shown that a reduction in alcohol intake is effective in lowering the blood pressure both in hypertensives and normotensives and may help to prevent the development of hypertension[12,41,95,96]. Heavy drinkers who cut back to moderate drinking can lower their systolic blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm of mercury (mm Hg) and their diastolic blood pressure by 1 to 2 mmHg.

how alcohol affects blood pressure

Any disagreements regarding inclusion or exclusion of studies were resolved by discussion between review authors. The reason for exclusion was documented for each citation at the full‐text level. We also checked the list of references in the included studies and articles that cited the included studies in Google Scholar to identify relevant articles. All randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared alcohol to placebo or similar tasting non‐alcoholic beverages were included in this systematic review. To prevent various health complications, including high blood pressure, people should try to limit their alcohol consumption to one or two glasses infrequently.