How does alcohol increase the risk of high blood pressure ?

How does alcohol increase the risk of high blood pressure ?

Comment l’alcool augmente-t-il le risque d’hypertension artérielle ?

Alcohol remains one of the leading risk factors for preventable diseases. Each year, more than 40,000 deaths are attributable to it.

More than 650,000. This is the number of cases of high blood pressure attributable to excessive alcohol consumption in France. But how does one trigger the other ? And is it irreversible ?

Alcohol remains one of the leading risk factors for preventable diseases. Each year, more than 40,000 deaths are attributable to it. But the French seem not to appreciate this association. In 2021, 22% of adults reported consumption above the lower risk consumption benchmarks.

Another example of trivialization, on Saturday April 27, Léa Salamé received in "What a time!" on France 2n the actor and director Artus. And when the comedian confided to the journalist that he had stopped drinking, the latter replied – in a tone of humor – that he "became annoying".

At the start of the week, Public Health France deplored that "the impact of alcohol on health remains underestimated by the population", thus explaining that "more than 650,000 patients have high blood pressure linked to alcohol consumption exceeding two drinks per day or not respecting the two days of abstinence per week."

Alcohol and blood pressure…

How alcohol works ? Regular and excessive drinking can lead to an increase in blood pressure over time. Alcohol acts as a vasodilator. It relaxes the blood vessels and widens them. This expansion can lead to increased blood flow and a subsequent rise in blood pressure. In addition, alcohol consumption can stimulate the release of stress hormones, further increasing blood pressure and thus the risk of hypertension.

Dramatic consequences

Generally silent, hypertension can seem harmless. Unfortunately, when it is not controlled, it constitutes one of the main causes of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular or neurodegenerative complications (myocardial infarction, stroke, Alzheimer's disease…). However, simple health and diet measures (such as not drinking too much) sometimes alone can normalize blood pressure.

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