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J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2005 Jun;7(6):346-51.

Excessive alcohol consumption and hypertension: clinical implications of current research.

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Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 25086, USA.


Substantial evidence demonstrates that: 1) heavy alcohol consumption (three or more standard drinks per day) is associated with and predictive of hypertension; 2) reduction in alcohol consumption is associated with a significant dose-dependent lowering of mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure; and 3) physician advice can reduce heavy drinking in hypertensive patients. These findings suggest that the routine evaluation of alcohol consumption in hypertensive patients is warranted. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-C (AUDIT-C), a brief, three-question screening test, is useful in this regard. Alcohol biomarkers can also play a role in detecting and monitoring heavy drinking in hypertensive patients whose self-reports on the AUDIT-C are suspect. Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin, a new alcohol biomarker with high specificity, can provide objective data for feedback and counseling. A routine search for excessive use of alcohol, along with brief interventions and monitoring, can have a major impact on reducing the prevalence of hypertension in the general population.

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