Alcohol dependence is a habit that has many negative effects on mental and physical health, not to mention the negative impact on your social life and family obligations.
Perhaps one of the most damaging effects that continued heavy alcohol use can have on the body is the raising of your blood pressure. As you might know, high blood pressure comes with a host of health risks and is even associated with shorter life expectancy.
If you want to learn about what alcohol dependency is doing to your blood pressure and what might come of it, keep reading our analysis of alcohol dependence, blood pressure, and the correlation between the two as it relates to your personal health.
Science Behind Alcohol Raising Blood Pressure
First, let’s take an in-depth dive to look at the science behind alcohol, blood pressure, and how alcohol can raise your blood pressure.
Your body’s natural reaction to the introduction of alcohol is a process known as vasodilation. This means that for a short period of time, your blood vessels will widen and allow more oxygen-rich blood to flow through your body. In most cases, this process lasts only briefly before wearing off and returning to normal.
The downside of this, however, is that when the vasodilation wears off, your blood vessels will actually constrict. This can cause your blood pressure to rise as it’s now more difficult for oxygen-rich blood to flow through the body efficiently.
Adding frequent and heavy drinking into the mix can create a dangerous combination of increased blood pressure, an increased risk of heart disease, and other potentially dangerous effects.
Health Risks of High Blood Pressure
Having high blood pressure is bad for a number of reasons. It can lead to certain conditions and even shorter life expectancy. Here are some of the potential health risks of maintaining heavy alcohol use and high blood pressure as a result.
Increased Risk of Heart Disease
Having high blood pressure can significantly increase an individual’s risk of developing heart disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly half of all American adults have high blood pressure, making it one of the leading causes of heart disease in the nation. This is because when blood pressure is consistently high, it forces the heart to work harder than usual to keep up with the demands placed on it, eventually leading to damages in the arteries and resulting in cardiovascular issues.
As a result, individuals with pre-existing hypertension or those who engage in heavy drinking should take extra measures to monitor their blood pressure levels as this could be a sign of potential cardiovascular problems down the road.
Some ways to keep high blood pressure at bay include exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, reducing salt intake, and taking medications prescribed by your doctor if necessary. Taking these proactive steps can help individuals lower their risk of developing heart disease due to increased blood pressure levels associated with alcohol use.
Increased Risk of Stroke
One of the most serious health risks associated with high blood pressure is an increased risk of stroke. A stroke occurs when one of the blood vessels in the brain is blocked or ruptured, preventing oxygen from reaching the brain and resulting in permanent damage. High blood pressure can lead to damage to the arteries that supply blood to the brain, making it more likely for a stroke to occur. The risk also increases when combined with heavy alcohol use, as this combination can cause an even greater spike in blood pressure levels.
Increased Risk of Kidney Disease
High blood pressure is a major contributor to kidney disease, which can cause serious health consequences. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop chronic kidney disease, which can lead to end-stage renal failure and even death if left untreated.
Kidney damage caused by high blood pressure is a result of the increased stress that it puts on the organs, causing them to work harder than normal and become damaged over time. High levels of blood pressure put additional strain on the kidneys, making them unable to filter out waste as efficiently as they should. This can cause an accumulation of toxins in the bloodstream and damage other systems, such as those related to metabolism and energy production.
In addition, long-term hypertension further increases the risk of developing kidney stones or nephritis, which can cause severe pain in the abdomen and other areas of the body.
Fatigue is one of the common health risks associated with high blood pressure. This is because when your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your heart and circulatory system, making them both work harder to keep up with the increased pressure. Fatigue is also one of the withdrawal symptoms of drinking alcohol on blood pressure medications and then suddenly stopping.
An increase blood pressure instance can also impact your energy levels in other ways. It affects the body’s ability to produce red blood cells, which are responsible for transporting oxygen around the body. Without an adequate oxygen supply, you may experience fatigue more frequently and feel like you don’t have enough energy to get through the day.
Furthermore, high blood pressure increases adrenaline production when you drink alcohol – a hormone that stimulates activity and can cause feelings of tiredness when overproduced. This can impact blood flow and open up other symptoms associated with excessive drinking. Stress levels can also increase when dealing with high levels of hypertension, further impacting your energy levels and contributing to fatigue.
Want to Avoid High Blood Pressure?
It’s clear that high blood pressure and continued heavy alcohol use are detrimental to your long and short-term health. So, what should you do about it? Well, the best thing that you can do for your body is to get your alcohol dependence under control.
If you can do this, you can start to reverse the impact that alcohol use has had on your body. If you’re ready to take that step, then The Alcohol Coach might be the right path for you. The Alcohol Coach offers comprehensive, positivity-based plans to help those with alcohol dependence discover their self-empowerment and become their best self.
High blood pressure is a serious health concern that can lead to severe consequences if left unchecked. Alcohol affects blood pressure in a variety of ways, and profuse alcohol consumption or binge drinking can have severe impacts on blood pressure and make blood pressure medications dangerous.
Individuals with hypertension or those who engage in repeated binge drinking should be particularly aware of their blood pressure levels, as this could be an indication of potential cardiovascular issues down the road. Heavy alcohol use combined with high blood pressure levels can increase the risk of stroke, kidney disease, and vision problems. The best way to avoid these potential health risks is to get your alcohol use under control. The Alcohol Coach offers comprehensive plans to help those with alcohol dependence find their self-empowerment and become their best selves.
Hi, I'm Michela
I’m a leader in the science of transformational freedom for women, and someone previously addicted to alcohol. I have walked the path. I understand your concerns and fears. Here you will find some of my thoughts and insights. Happy browsing!
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