How Does Alcohol Affect Blood Pressure? November 8th, 2019 The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake
Blog & News How Does Alcohol Affect Blood Pressure?

How Does Alcohol Affect Blood Pressure?

a glass of wineEven though alcohol can seemingly be a lot of fun, it does have a lot of unintended health risks. Drinking more than three drinks in a single sitting will temporarily cause your blood pressure to rise, but extended binge drinking, or regular alcohol consumption can cause a permanent increase in blood pressure.

Below we highlight the effects alcohol can have on your blood pressure, as well as the negative consequences that having high blood pressure can have on your health.

What is High Blood Pressure?

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body whenever it beats. In order for your blood to properly circulate pressure is required. A heart that’s healthy and functioning normally will pump blood throughout your body at a relatively low blood pressure.

However, high blood pressure means that your heart must pump harder in order to pump the blood throughout your body. This also strains your arteries, as they have to work to carry the blood that’s now flowing through your body at a greater pressure.

Unfortunately, having high blood pressure usually doesn’t have very many symptoms, so it can be hard to diagnose until it’s too late.

How Alcohol Affects Blood Pressure

Drinking heavy amounts of alcohol over time will cause your blood pressure to rise. When you consume alcohol above a level that your body can regularly process is causes your blood pressure to increase. For the duration of your drinking, and for some time after your blood pressure will remain elevated.

That’s why sustained heavy drinking can be so dangerous for your blood pressure. You never give your heart a break. Over time this will only compound and you’ll have dangerously high blood pressure.

The Dire Consequences of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can cause a host of health issues. For starters, it can cause kidney damage and even lead to retinal damage. High blood pressure can also lead to two potentially consequences shown below.

1. Stroke

High blood pressure puts a strain on arteries and blood vessels throughout your entire body, including those in your brain. The continued stress will wither cause the vessels to clog, or weaken. When this happens there’s a blockage of blood to the brain, or there’s bleeding into the brain. This results in a stroke.

2. Heart Attack

Having high blood pressure will greatly increase your risk of heart attack. Since high blood pressure makes your heart work harder, and increases the overall strain on your heart, you increase your risk of chest pains, breathlessness, and even heart attack.

Seeking Treatment for Alcohol Abuse

In order to safely lower your blood pressure to a healthy range it’s important to decrease the total amount and frequency at which you consume alcohol.  If you’re a heavy drinker you can cut back to more moderate levels of drinking over a sustained period of time. Immediately stopping alcohol consumption can be incredibly dangerous if you’re a heavy drinker.

If you’re trying to treat alcoholism in yourself or a loved one it’s always a good idea to seek out the support of an alcohol treatment center with experienced medical staff. This will help to ease the transition and make your path to sobriety much more tolerable. If you or a loved one has made the decision to stop drinking once and for all, then reach out to our team today.



“Alcohol and Blood Pressure” AHA, 14 Aug 2014. Web. 10 Feb 2016.

Puddey, IB. “Alcohol is bad for blood pressure” PubMed, Sep 2006. Web. 10 Feb 2016.

Photo courtesy of Alex Ranaldi under Creative Commons License.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.