Drinking alcohol can seem like a casual way to relax or something you can do without giving it much thought, but the effects of drinking, particularly in excess, are far-reaching and can be severe. Alcohol affects both your mind and your body, sometimes in profound ways.
One area that people frequently wonder about is alcohol and blood pressure. Does alcohol lower blood pressure temporarily?
Below you’ll find more information about blood pressure and how alcohol can affect it.
Alcohol and Its Effects on Blood Pressure
If you’re looking for ways to be healthier, you should consider your alcohol use and its effects on your health. Does alcohol lower blood pressure temporarily? In moderation, alcohol can possibly lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg. However, this is clinically insignificant in most situations.
The effects of alcohol on lowering blood pressure are also quickly lost if you drink too much. The recommended maximum amount of alcohol you should have in a day is one drink if you’re a woman, and no more than two if you’re a man. If you’re a man older than age 65, the recommendation is no more than one drink a day as well.
It’s also important to note what’s meant by one drink. The servings you’re used to may be the same as two or more drinks. One serving is 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.
If you drink more than this it can raise your blood pressure significantly. You may also be reducing how well your medications are able to work for treating high blood pressure.
Red Wine and Blood Pressure
A lot of people are also under the impression that red wine is a cure-all healthy alcoholic drink, particularly regarding heart health and blood pressure. It’s true that some resources indicate that red wine, when used in moderation, may have some health-related benefits, but healthcare professionals disagree on how much of a positive benefit this actually creates.
If you’re concerned about your blood pressure, you shouldn’t try to self-medicate with alcohol. Instead, you should follow the recommendations of your physician or healthcare provider.
Complications of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a common condition in the U.S. and it’s linked to many things such as obesity, certain medications and other lifestyle factors. High blood pressure is manageable and can be reduced by making changes in your lifestyle and often by medications as well.
High blood pressure that’s not controlled can cause heart attacks, stroke and heart failure. It can also lead to kidney failure, vision loss, angina and peripheral artery disease.
If your blood pressure is too high for too long, it can cause damage to your blood vessels that can cause tears in artery walls and cause plaque to build up inside the arteries. Not only are you at risk for serious and often deadly conditions, such as a heart attack, but it can diminish your quality of life.
This is why it’s important to learn what factors in your life influence your blood pressure and to take steps to keep it at a healthy level.
Summing Up—Does Alcohol Lower Blood Pressure Temporarily?
With some research indicating that drinking alcohol in moderation may have benefits regarding heart health and lowering blood pressure, people have started asking “does alcohol lower blood pressure temporarily.”
The answer is no, not in any significant way.
- Drinking in moderation may have very slight benefits for your blood pressure.
- Moderate drinking is defined as having no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman or a man over the age of 65, and no more than two drinks if you’re a man younger than 65.
- If you drink more than that, alcohol can have a detrimental effect on your blood pressure.
- Drinking can reduce the effectiveness of any medications you take, including those to manage blood pressure.
- If you binge drink, it can temporarily raise your blood pressure levels, and if you’re a chronic binge-drinker, these increases can become long-term.
- If you’re a heavy drinker and you cut back, you can significantly lower your blood pressure, but you should consult with your doctor on how to manage your blood pressure when stopping alcohol use.
- You should always rely on your physician first and foremost for information and recommendations about alcohol and blood pressure.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.