A synergistic effect of alcohol and hypertension has been suggested to increase the risk for stroke.
However, the contribution of alcohol-induced hypertension to stroke morbidity and mortality may be greater than observed, because the effects of different drinking patterns have not been separately investigated.
Alcohol-induced transient peaks in systolic blood pressure may predispose to stroke. Recent studies have measured time trends of blood pressure elevations in relation to alcohol consumption. They found a significant morning surge in blood pressure, which was related to alcohol intake in a dose-dependent manner and was independent of smoking.
Men with a severe form of hypertension showed a 12-fold increased risk for cardiovascular disease mortality associated with heavy binge drinking. Binge drinking is a significant risk factor for stroke.
Hypertensive patients should be warned about the risks of alcohol and urged to avoid binge drinking because of an increased risk for all subtypes of stroke.
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