Alcohol intake may increase blood pressure more than previously thought

March 4th, 2008 - 3:59 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Mar 4 (ANI): Researchers at the University of Bristol have suggested that alcohol intake may elevate blood pressure more than previously thought.

Prior studies have shown that heavy alcohol intake is a risk factor for hypertension but are often confused by factors such as diet, smoking, exercise levels and socio-economic position.

The researchers focused on the genetic mutations caused in drinkers that influenced their bodys ability to eliminate alcohol.

An enzyme called alcohol dehydrohenase 2 (ALDH2) eliminates the chemical from the body, but in some people these genetic mutations affected their ability to get rid of alcohol.

The mutations often resulted in facial flushing after consumption of alcohol coupled with intense nausea, drowsiness, headache and other unpleasant symptoms.

The team led by Dr Sarah Lewis of the Universitys Department of Social Medicine looked at the blood pressure of people with the ALDH2 gene and compared it that of those who have the mutation and those who do not.

The findings revealed that people without the mutation who had about 3 drinks per day had strikingly higher blood pressure than people who tended to drink only small amounts or nothing at all.

This study shows that alcohol intake may increase blood pressure to a much greater extent, even among moderate drinkers, than previously thought, said Dr Lewis.

Large-scale replication studies are required to confirm this finding and to improve the precision of our estimates, she added. (ANI)

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