Alcohol a Strong Risk Factor for Hypertension in China

Frequent drinkers double their risk of high blood pressure, study finds

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FRIDAY, April 22, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- In a study that suggests ethnic differences in susceptibility to hypertension, researchers report that Chinese men who consume more than 30 alcoholic drinks a week are twice as likely to have high blood pressure as Chinese men who don't drink alcohol.

"Our study is among the first to closely examine the relationship between the number of alcoholic beverages a person drinks and high blood pressure in a Chinese population. The majority of previous research has been based on Western populations, and data from other cardiovascular risk factors has suggested that Western and Asian populations do not necessarily respond identically to every risk factor," study author and epidemiologist Rachel Wildman, of Tulane University, in New Orleans, said in a prepared statement.

The study included more than 5,300 men aged 35 to 74 who each provided information about how much alcohol they drank each week. Researchers also analyzed detailed blood pressure measurements taken from the men.

Nearly one in five of the men (17 percent) consumed more than 30 alcoholic drinks a week, while a little more than 50 percent of the men indulged in fewer than 12 drinks over the previous year.

The study, which appears in the April issue of the Journal of Hypertension, found heavier drinkers in China faced double the risk of hypertension compared to infrequent drinkers.

"Heart disease is the leading killer of adults in China today. Limiting alcohol intake has to be a part of efforts to prevent and manage high blood pressure in China," Wildman said. She added that by cutting back by just one drink per day, many at-risk Chinese men could significantly reduce their blood pressure.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about high blood pressure.

SOURCE: Tulane University, news release, April 4, 2005

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