High blood pressure may become a problem among adults with type 2 diabetes who consume eight or more alcoholic drinks per week. According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, heavy alcohol consumption may be linked to a risk of hypertension in those with type 2 diabetes.
Study author Matthew J. Singleton lead the study, which was the first of its kind to specifically investigate the association of alcohol intake and hypertension among adults with type 2 diabetes. Previous studies had found a relationship between heavy alcohol consumption and high blood pressure, but the association between moderate alcohol consumption and blood pressure was unclear.
For the study, researchers examined the relationship between alcohol consumption and blood pressure in more than 10,000 adults with type 2 diabetes. They had an average age of 63 years, and 61% of them were male. All participants were part of a larger study called the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) trial. This study was one of the most extensive long-term trials which ran from 2001–2005 at 77 centers across the U.S. and Canada. The main goal of this study was to compare different treatment approaches to reduce heart disease risk in adults with type 2 diabetes.
All participants had type 2 diabetes for an average of 10 years before enrolling in the study. They also had pre-existing cardiovascular disease, evidence of potential cardiovascular disease, or had at least two additional cardiovascular disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, or obesity.
For the study, alcohol consumption was categorized as none, light (1–7 drinks per week), moderate (8–14 drinks per week), and heavy (15 or more drinks per week). The number of drinks consumed by each participant was tracked via a questionnaire when they enrolled in the study.
The More Consumed, the Higher the Risk
By the conclusion of the study, researchers found that light drinking was not associated with elevated blood pressure. Moderate drinking showed increased odds of elevated blood pressure by 79%. Heavy drinking was associated with increased odds of elevated blood pressure by 91%. The overall conclusion was that the more alcohol consumed, the higher risk and severity of high blood pressure.
“Though light to moderate alcohol consumption may have positive effects on cardiovascular health in the general adult population, both moderate and heavy alcohol consumption appear to be independently associated with higher odds of high blood pressure among those with type 2 diabetes,” Singleton said. “Lifestyle modification, including tempering alcohol consumption, may be considered in patients with type 2 diabetes, particularly if they are having trouble controlling their blood pressure.”
The American Heart Association has agreed that excessive drinking can increase the risk of high blood pressure in those with type 2 diabetes. As these people are already at an increased risk for elevated blood pressure, the association recommends limiting alcohol beverages consumed every week.