Heavy alcohol drinking is associated with a dose-dependent increase in blood pressure, but data on the relation between alcohol consumption and mortality in hypertensive patients are sparse. The objective of this study was to assess the relation between light to moderate alcohol consumption and total mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD) among men with hypertension. From the Physicians’ Health Study enrollment cohort of 88,882 men who provided self-reported information on alcohol intake, the investigators identified a group of 14,125 men with a history of current or past treatment for hypertension who were free of myocardial infarction, stroke, cancer, or liver disease at baseline.
The investigators conclude that these results suggest that light to moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a reduction in risk of total and CVD mortality in hypertensive men.
This thorough study is of importance because physicians generally advise their hypertensive patients to avoid alcohol. As has been seen in the general population, the hypertensive men in this study who reported that they consumed alcohol had markedly lower risks of cardiovascular and total mortality. Among the hypertensive subjects, both those whose blood pressure was under good control and those who still had pressures of 140/90 or higher showed the same protection.
This study adds further support to the recommendations resulting from only a few others that have focused on hypertensive patients: hypertensives should be advised to decrease their drinking if it is excessive, but they do not need to abstain.
Source: Alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease mortality in hypertensive men. Malinski MK, Sesso HD, Lopez-Jimenez F, Buring JE, Gaziano JM Arch Intern Med 2004;164:623-628