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If you’re a young person whose wellness is affected by early-stage hypertension, heavy drinking may put your wellbeing at risk of diabetes. This is according to researchers at the San Antonio Hospital, University of Padova, Italy, whose cohort study of stage 1 hypertensive individuals showed that more than 10 drinks a day boosted the risk of prediabetes (in which your serum glucose between 100 and 125 mg/dL) more than six times.
Lucio Mos and colleagues presented their findings at the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation’s EuroPRevent meeting, noting that if you have less than five drinks a day, you are neither harming or improving your risk for prediabetes. Session moderator Paul Dendale, MD, PhD, of the University of Hasselt, Belgium, commented that this is a surprising finding, because there is an established link between moderate drinking and a protective effect in cardiovascular disease and certain other conditions.
The original aim of the Hypertension and Ambulatory Recording Venetia Study (HARVEST) was to look at white-coat hypertension in patients seen at 17 hypertension clinics in northeast Italy, and so Dendale surmised that the hypertensive population studied may have accounted for the difference in the study’s findings. He noted, ‘Alcohol is also increasing the blood pressure, so it might be that, there again, you have some effect in a population that is more sensitive to alcohol.’ Dendale concluded that, therefore, the message remains an emphasis on moderation.
1,177 patients, ages 18 to 45, participated in the study, all of whom had systolic blood pressure between 140 and 159 mm Hg, or diastolic pressure of 90 to 99 mm Hg. The participants had never been treated for hypertension and were free of other important risk factors for atherosclerosis at baseline. The study involved 6.5 years of follow-up, during which time average glycaemic levels climbed with greater daily alcohol intake (P=0.02), as did prediabetes (P=0.006). Those who drank more also tended to have higher cholesterol (P=0.03), and 3.1 times more likely to have sustained hypertension (95% CI 1.4 to 7.2). However, when it came to those who abstained from alcohol, and those who drank mild amounts, the researchers reported that the risk of prediabetes was similar.