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Alcohol and Hypertension

Emmanuel B. Larbi, MD, PhD; Richard S. Cooper, MD; Jeremiah Stamler, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1983;143(1):28-29. doi:10.1001/archinte.1983.00350010030005.
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The association between excessive alcohol consumption and hypertension was first reported by Lian in 1915.1 Since that time, epidemiologic and clinical studies in several countries have confirmed the association between alcohol consumption and BP.2-12 While some studies show a progressive increase in systolic and diastolic BP with increasing alcohol consumption, others indicate a U-shaped threshold response. The relationship is independent of age, sex, race, relative weight, cigarette use, serum cholesterol value, educational achievement, and social class.

The complications of hypertension, especially cerebrovascular disease, also seem to be more common in heavy drinkers. The usual definition of a heavy drinker is one who consumes five or more drinks each day, a drink being the amount of alcohol (13 g) contained in a 360-mL (12-oz) can of beer (3.6% alcohol by weight), 37.5 mL (1.25 oz) of whiskey (40% alcohol or 80 proof) and the average cocktail (33.4% alcohol), or


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