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Drinking without food may set you up for high blood pressure

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- During this season to be jolly, when alcohol flows more freely than usual, a new study alerts drinkers that a habit of drinking outside of meals may be setting them up for high blood pressure. Research conducted at the University at Buffalo has shown that consuming alcohol mostly without food is a significant risk factor for developing hypertension. The effect was present even in people with light-to-moderate alcohol intake. The research also confirmed previous findings showing a positive relationship between heavy alcohol use and high blood pressure. Results of the study appear in the December issue of the journal Hypertension. "These findings support the notion that in addition to amount, the way in which alcohol is consumed may have important implications for health and, in particular, for cardiovascular disease," said lead researcher Saverio Stranges, M.D., research instructor in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine in the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions.

The findings were based on blood pressure readings and self-reported alcohol consumption patterns from a randomly selected sample of 2,609 white men and women between the ages of 35 and 80 who took part in the Western New York Health Study. All participants were free of other cardiovascular diseases.

In a computer-assisted, in-person interview, participants provided data on their alcohol consumption during the past 30 days. Questions covered how often they drank during that time period, when they drank (weekdays versus weekends), how much they drank (drinks per day) and if they drank with meals, with snacks or without food. They also reported whether they drank mostly beer, wine or liquor.

Based on responses, participants also were classified as lifetime abstainers, those who reported having fewer than 12 drinks in their lifetime or in any one-year period; non-current drinkers, participants having more than 12 drinks
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Contact: Lois Baker
ljbaker@buffalo.edu
716-645-5000 x1417
University at Buffalo
16-Dec-2004


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