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How to Cut Down on Alcohol while Suffering from High Blood Pressure

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Dangers of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is the biggest known cause of disability and premature death in the UK through strokes, heart attacks and heart disease. 1 in 3 adults in the UK have high blood pressure and every day 350 people have a preventable stroke or heart attack caused by the condition. For many people, lifestyle can play a factor in developing high blood pressure. One lifestyle choice that increases the likelihood of having high blood pressure is alcohol consumption.


Alcohol Consumption and Blood Pressure

If you drink too much alcohol, this will raise your blood pressure over time. Alcohol also contains a lot of calories which can cause you to gain weight. This will also increase your blood pressure. The current guidelines recommend no more than 14 units a week for BOTH men and women. 14 units is roughly 6 pints of beer or 6 medium glasses of wine or 14 single measures of spirits.

It can be hard to visualise what 14 units equates to, so here are a few examples of some popular drinks and their unit content: 

  • Single measure of spirits (25ml) is 1 unit. 
  • Pint of lower strength beer, ale, cider or lager (4% ABV) is 2.3 units.
  • Pint of higher strength beer, ale, cider or lager (5% ABV) is 2.8 units.
  • Bottle or can (330ml) of beer, ale, cider or lager (4%) is 1.3 units. 
  • Standard 175ml glass of red or white wine (12% ABV) is 2.1 units. 
  • Large 250ml glass of red or white wine (12% ABV) is 3 units.
  • Even if you don’t drink too much, you can still benefit from drinking less alcohol. 


7 Tips to have a Good Night Out (or in) Without Worrying About How Alcohol Affects your Blood Pressure

  1.  Try low-alcohol options. There are now a number of lower-strength beers on the market.
  2.  Check the label. Many drinks labels now tell you the amount of units they contain.
  3.  Make your drinks last longer by adding mixers or water.
  4.  Don’t eat bar snacks like crisps and peanuts. The added salt will make you thirsty, wanting to drink more. The added salt will also raise your blood pressure.
  5. If you drink at home, buy a measure so that you know how much you are drinking. 
  6. Keep track of what you’re drinking. 14 units is much less than you would think.
  7. Instead of going out to a bar or pub, try doing a different activity with your friends e.g., an escape room.

High blood pressure is asymptomatic and if left untreated can lead to strokes, heart attacks, heart failure and chronic kidney disease. This is why it’s important to monitor your blood pressure and adopt lifestyle changes to help keep it within a healthy range. One lifestyle change could be ensuring that you don’t drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week. 


Blood Pressure UK

UK Charity

About us

Our vision is for everyone to know their blood pressure numbers in the same way they know their height or weight and take steps to keep them healthy, both now and in the future.

If you’ve enjoyed this, there’s more like it and free tools to help you manage your blood pressure.

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