Hypertension

Updated 07 July 2014

Alcohol and hypertension

"Having a few drinks helps me relax, and relaxing lowers my blood sugar, so alcohol should be good for my hypertension, right?” Unfortunately not.

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"Having a few drinks helps me relax, and relaxing lowers my blood sugar, so alcohol should be good for my hypertension, right?” Unfortunately not.

If you have hypertension you need to limit your consumption of alcohol, which has been shown to elevate blood pressure by up to 10 percent in people with hypertension. It causes constriction of the blood vessels and reduces the heart’s ability to pump efficiently, which can contribute to enlargement of the heart muscle.

If you have essential hypertension you need to take particular care with alcohol. Men with hypertension should consume now more two drinks (about one glass of wine, 300ml of beer or one tot of spirits) daily. Hypertensive women should have no more than one drink a day.

There’s a temptation to bend the rules a bit, especially over the festive season, or to “save up rations”, enabling you to have a bit of a binge. Doctors warn against this, as sudden, heavy drinking is particularly harmful.

Read more:
Hypertension and fasting
Anxiety and alcohol

 

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Hypertension expert

Dr Jacomien de Villiers qualified as a specialist physician at the University of Pretoria in 1995. She worked at various clinics at the Department of Internal Medicine, Steve Biko Hospital, these include General Internal Medicine, Hypertension, Diabetes and Cardiology. She has run a private practice since 2001, as well as a consultant post at the Endocrine Clinic of Steve Biko Hospital.

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