On The Table

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The Effects of Binge Drinking on Your Blood Pressure

While drinking in general may not be helpful for your diet, learn how binge drinking can effect your blood pressure.

The Effects of Binge Drinking on Your Blood Pressure

With the football season in full swing, and with fall fast approaching, many of us are going to be making a toast to our favorite team, and celebrating those special occasions. If you have high blood pressure, you may want to slow down on the celebration, as excessive amounts of alcohol could spell trouble for your health.

High blood pressure is a very serious condition and can be made even that much more serious by binge drinking. This should be a no-brainer, but a new study suggests that the dangerous effects of binge drinking for people with high blood pressure is more threatening than we once believed.

Men with high blood pressure who drank more than six drinks in one sitting have nearly double the risk of dying from a stroke or heart attack, this, in addition to the risk of potential alcohol poisoning, the study found. If these same men drank double that amount—12 drinks—then their chances of stroke or heart attack is nearly five times higher.

While men were the focus of the study, its findings also hold bearing for women. The bottom line is that occasional social drinking in moderation can quickly turn into binge drinking and frequent binge drinking at that.

Researches point out that drinking alcohol can quickly increase your blood pressure 15 to 20 points, which, for some people with high blood pressure, is 15 to 20 points too many to reduce their chances of a sudden stroke or heart attack.

And if you already have severe high blood pressure, the effects of binge drinking can make your risk worse. If the same men have six drinks in one sitting but they have a severe case of high blood pressure, their likelihood of a deadly stroke or heart attack practically quadruples.

Experts explain that drinking alcohol likely contributes to the hardening of arteries and may make the arterial plaques that cause strokes and heart attacks more unstable. High blood pressure also damages blood cells, so this combination and excessive alcohol intake can prove lethal.

The bottom line is that if you have high blood pressure, it’s important to take smart, pro-active steps and stay away from the effects of binge drinking. Unfortunately, that may mean abstaining from alcohol or limiting any alcohol to special occasions and knowing that a safe limit is probably just 1-2 drinks, depending on the severity of your condition.

Drinking is very much a social activity and you should certainly enjoy the company of friends and family who plan an event where alcohol is involved. If you don’t believe your high blood pressure can even afford one drink, plan to enjoy an alternative drink like water or cider that won’t jeopardize your health.