If your face turns red after a few drinks, it could be a sign of added risk for alcohol-linked high blood pressure, new research suggests.
It was already known that excessive drinking is a risk factor for high blood pressure, say researchers reporting online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
Experts have also known that facial flushing after drinking is tied to higher sensitivity or even intolerance to alcohol.
Read: Acetaldehyde from alcohol damages your genes, which may cause cancer
In the new study, the South Korean research team examined the medical records of more than 1 700 men and divided them into three groups: non-drinkers, people whose faces flushed after drinking and drinkers who didn't have the flushed-face reaction.
"Flushers" were more apt to have drinking-related high blood pressure than non-flushers, the research found, and the risk of high blood pressure was much higher among flushers who had more than four drinks per week.
Read: Alcohol may relax you, but it does up your blood pressure
High alcohol sensitivity
"Facial flushing after drinking is always considered as a symptom of high alcohol sensitivity or even intolerance to alcohol, unless a patient is taking special medicine," study author Jong Sung Kim, head of the department of family medicine at Chungnam National University School of Medicine in South Korea, said in a journal news release.
"The facial flushing response to drinking usually occurs in a person who cannot genetically break down acetaldehyde, the first metabolite of alcohol," Kim explained.
According to the authors, facial flushing after drinking could serve as a signal for a greater risk of alcohol-linked high blood pressure.
Based on the new data, doctors should "consider evaluating their patients' flushing response to alcohol, as well as drinking amount, in daily routine care," Kim said.
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