How Does Alcohol Cause High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure occurs when blood flow is too strong for the dilation of the
arteries or the vascular system constricts too much for the blood flow. Usually, the normal level
is considered 120/90 mm Hg. Anything higher than this will not be a healthy level. A balanced blood
pressure is maintained by a proper amount of salt in the body. Besides this, alcohol has also been
known to effect blood pressure.
The process is pretty simple- alcohol gets absorbed into the body as sugar and
in order to be metabolized, it needs insulin. Hence, insulin level elevates and blood pressure
increases as well. This is why most drinkers have elevated blood pressure levels. The situation is
worse for people who have a weak heart and regulatory system. Such people suffer from high blood
pressure and an overactive central nervous system. According to the American Heart Association, one
or two drinks per day are the recommended amount of alcohol that a person can take. Even when
alcohol is drunk in moderate amounts, it is necessary to balance its effect on insulin with a snack
that is rich in protein and fat. So, it is a good habit to eat some cheese or nuts with wine or
There are other ways as
well in which alcohol acts in the body.
The amount of water in the body increases due to alcohol consumption. The extra
amount of water burdens the heart and the arteries, constraining the arterial passage of the blood
flow. Subsequently, blood pressure increases to circulate enough blood in the body.
According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 1991, an
overactive central nervous system is one of the reasons why blood pressure becomes high of a person
drinking alcohol. It alerts the nervous system when it gets absorbed into the blood. The adrenal
gland produces more epinephrine. This hormone tells the heart to work harder while the nerves in
the muscular areas constrict the arteries too much, making it difficult for the blood to pass.
Ultimately, this raises the blood pressure above 140/90 mm Hg. This effect lasts until all
traces of alcohol have been removed from the body.