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Drinking alcohol increases risk of high blood pressure for those with type 2 diabetes, study finds

Researchers say limiting alcohol consumption could lead to better health outcomes

Photo (c) chasmer - Getty Images
Recent studies have highlighted the negative health effects associated with alcohol consumption -- even in the most limited quantities. Now, researchers from the American Heart Association have identified those with type 2 diabetes as a particularly vulnerable group when it comes to drinking.  

According to a new study, having more than one alcoholic drink per day could increase the risk of high blood pressure for those with type 2 diabetes. 

“This is the first large study to specifically investigate the association of alcohol intake and hypertension among adults with type 2 diabetes,” said researcher Dr. Matthew J. Singleton. “Previous studies have suggested that heavy alcohol consumption was associated with high blood pressure, however, the association of moderate alcohol consumption with high blood pressure was unclear.” 

The risks of moderate alcohol consumption

The researchers had over 10,000 participants, all with type 2 diabetes, participate in the study. At the start of the study, the participants reported on how many alcoholic beverages they consumed per week, and the researchers monitored their blood pressure readings over the course of the study. 

The biggest takeaway that the researchers gleaned was that excessive alcohol consumption greatly increases consumers’ risk of high blood pressure. However, they learned that even drinking moderately throughout the week can be problematic for those struggling with type 2 diabetes. Moderate drinking was defined as having eight to 14 drinks per week, and participants who fell into this group were nearly 80 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure. 

These findings were consistent with those from another study, which found that moderate drinking for all consumers -- regardless of diabetes status -- can have a negative impact on blood pressure. 

Limiting alcohol consumption

The researchers learned that having a few drinks each week didn’t compromise participants’ blood pressure. Because of this, they recommend that consumers with type 2 diabetes take these findings into consideration when thinking about their own alcohol consumption. 

“People with type 2 diabetes are at a higher cardiovascular risk, and our findings indicate that alcohol consumption is associated with hypertension, so limited drinking is recommended,” said Dr. Singleton. 

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