Are you used to grabbing a glass of red wine with your dinner? Or a glass of white wine when dining out with your friends? Well, you might want to opt for a non-alcoholic beverage next time since a new study links even moderate alcohol consumption with high blood pressure, thus increasing the risk of heart health issues.
Several previous studies have suggested that moderate drinking might even provide certain benefits and lower the risk of some heart problems, but what hasn't been assessed so far is the connection between blood pressure and moderate drinking. The research which studied more than 17 0000 U.S. adults showed, however, that even drinking just 7 to 13 drinks per week raises the risk of hypertension significantly.
Hypertension, in turn, is the number one risk factor when it comes to heart attack and stroke.
This finding suggests that it's doubtful whether moderate alcohol consumption really benefits the heart. Thus far hypertension was generally connected to heavy drinking, while a few glasses of wine were even suggested. The study's lead author Amer Aladin, MD said: “It's the first study showing that both heavy and moderate alcohol consumption can increase hypertension.”
The research compared three groups of participants: those who avoided alcohol completely, those who could be defined as moderate drinkers and those who drink more heavily (14+ drinks per week). The results were quite baffling: moderate drinkers were 53 percent more likely to develop stage 1 hypertension in comparison to those who didn't consume alcohol at all.
The study's results are more concerning considering the extent of the sample size. Not only were the effects of moderate alcohol consumption observed on many people, the study was diverse when it comes to race and gender, meaning that the issue can be even more extensive as hypertension cannot be written off to a particular gender or race – it might be a universal issue that is strongly related to alcohol consumption.
What amount of alcohol is safe to consume? None, says research
This study might be the first to explore the link between alcohol consumption and heart's health, but it's not the first that explores the overall negative effects of alcohol.
Extensive 2018 study which was published in The Lancet suggests that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, despite what previous studies have found in terms of alcohol's beneficial effects.
The report's lead author Dr. Max Griswold said: “Previous studies have found a protective effect of alcohol on some conditions, but we found that the combined health risks associated with alcohol increase with any amount of alcohol.”
The study's statement is even more alarming as one of the explored key points was the spread of alcohol consumption. They found that alcohol is consumed by 2.4 billion people worldwide and alcohol can be associated with 2.8 million deaths worldwide each year.
According to the research, alcohol consumption was the 7th leading risk factor for premature death in 2016. What's more, it was found that among people aged 50 or older, cancer was the main cause related to alcohol consumption, accounting for as many as about 27 percent of deaths in women.
The study concluded that alcohol consumption is simply a colossally huge health issue which can lead to a number of health issues, even on low alcohol consumption.
Interestingly, the study found that the only possible protective effect that alcohol consumption could bring is the reduced risk of ischemic heart disease, but the new study that explored alcohol's connection to hypertension proves the opposite, meaning that alcohol consumption comes with literally no health benefits – not even when it comes to red wine and your heart.
Even moderate drinking is linked to seven types of cancer
Another study brought out an especially grim outlook to drinking alcoholic beverages: alcohol was strongly linked to seven types of cancer and possibly even others.
The grim seven included head, neck, esophageal, liver, colorectal and female breast cancer. What's worse, the type and amount of alcohol don't appear to matter at all. This means that even the much-praised wine or loved beer might be potentially cancer-inducing. Higher consumption, of course, increases the risk further.
The good news? The issue might be resolved altogether when you stop drinking alcohol.
Dr. Jana Witt, of Cancer Research UK, recommends people to cut down their alcohol consumption by having alcohol-free days, drinking smaller servings, keeping home alcohol-free and swapping alcoholic beverages for soft drinks instead.
These findings are not the first nor the last to support something we all know: alcohol is not good for us and there's no other way to spin that. Alcohol-related health issues are prominent problems worldwide, starting from self-harm and ending with cancer. While alcohol has previously been praised here and there for its possible heart health benefits, the new findings prove that even your heart gets damaged – and possibly each time you decide to raise a glass of wine or drink alcoholic cider.
Limiting the consumption is the road to take – and with the end goal of cutting out alcohol from your life completely.