Page last updated: September 20, 2011
Alcohol intake and atherosclerotic risk factors in normotensive and prehypertensive men

Japanese researchers investigated whether the association between atherosclerotic risk factors and the intake of alcoholic beverages is different in normotensive and prehypertensive individuals.
4,778 Japanese men, age 35-60 years, with normal blood pressure and 9,728 subjects with pre-hypertension were included in the study. The groups were divided into non, light (<22g ethanol/day), moderate (=22 and <44g ethanol/day) and heavy (=44g ethanol/day) drinkers. In both the prehypertensive and normotensive groups, compared to nondrinkers, the hemoglobin A(1C) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels were significantly lower. The high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level was significantly higher in light, heavy and very heavy drinkers, while triglycerides were significantly higher in very heavy drinkers only. The researchers concluded that the beneficial effects of alcoholic beverages intake were similar in normotensive and prehypertensive persons.
In subjects with prehypertension, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference were significantly lower and smaller, respectively, in light, heavy and very heavy drinkers than in nondrinkers. In subjects with normal blood pressure, BMI was significantly lower in light and heavy drinkers but not in very heavy drinkers than in nondrinkers, and waist circumference was not significantly different in non, light and heavy drinkers and was significantly larger in very heavy drinkers than in nondrinkers. Both in the prehypertensive and normotensive groups, compared with nondrinkers, hemoglobin A(1C) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol were significantly lower and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol was significantly higher in light, heavy and very heavy drinkers, and log-converted triglycerides was significantly higher in very heavy drinkers.
The authors argue that the association of alcohol intake with a lower occurrence of obesity is stronger in prehypertensives than in normotensives, while the associations of alcohol intake with lower occurrences of hyperglycemia and abnormal cholesterol profile, such as lowered HDL cholesterol and elevated LDL cholesterol, and a higher occurrence of elevated triglycerides are similar in normotensive and prehypertensive persons.

Source: American Journal of Hypertension (2011). doi:10.1038/ajh.2011.91
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