Reducing Alcohol Consumption Beneficial in Hypertension

Study finds inverse relationship between left ventricular diastolic function and alcohol intake
Study finds inverse relationship between left ventricular diastolic function and alcohol intake

HealthDay News — Even an ounce of alcohol a day might affect diastolic function in patients with hypertension, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, held from May 13 to 17 in New York City.

Leonardo Sechi, MD, of the University of Udine School of Medicine in Italy, and colleagues studied the effect of alcohol on 335 patients with hypertension. The researchers measured cardiac function via conventional echocardiograms and tissue-Doppler imaging, and asked about drinking patterns. Based on daily alcohol consumption, the participants were grouped into 4 categories, ranging from no alcohol (over half the participants, or 172) to less than an ounce a day, to about 1.4 ounces or more.

Sechi's team observed signs of functional cardiac change in nearly half the participants, which was associated with how much they drank. Increasing levels of alcohol consumption were associated with progressively impaired left ventricular (LV) diastolic function. Patients with LV diastolic dysfunction tended to be older, heavier, and have diabetes, hypertension, and high blood glucose and cholesterol. But after taking these factors into account, the researchers found that alcohol consumption was still independently associated with LV diastolic dysfunction.

"Because even moderate alcohol consumption increases occurrence of early functional cardiac changes in patients with hypertension, reduction of use of alcoholic beverages might be beneficial for prevention of cardiac complications in these patients," Sechi told HealthDay.

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