Binge drinking + hypertension = heart risk

Aug. 20, 2010 at 10:36 PM
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SEOUL, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Binge drinking is unhealthy for anyone but for men with high blood pressure it can increase the risk of death or stroke, South Korean researchers say.

Senior author Dr. Heechoul Ohrr, professor at Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, says hypertension and binge drinking are risk factors individually for cardiovascular disease but have been rarely studied together.

The study tracked more than 6,100 residents age 55 and older of an agricultural community in South Korea for almost 21 years.

The study, published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, finds compared to non-drinkers with normal blood pressure, the risk of cardiovascular death in men with blood pressure of at least 168 /100 millimeters of mercury was three times higher overall -- and four times higher if they were binge drinkers, consuming six or more drinks on one occasion.

The cardiovascular risk was 12 times higher if the men were heavy binge drinkers -- consuming 12 or more drinks at one sitting.

Less than 1 percent of the women were reported binge drinkers, therefore no conclusions could be made about the combined impact of high blood pressure and binge drinking in women, Ohrr says.

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