Prospective Study of Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Risk of Hypertension in Young Women | Hypertension | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network
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Original Investigation
March 11, 2002

Prospective Study of Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Risk of Hypertension in Young Women

Author Affiliations

From the Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital (Drs Thadhani, Camargo, Stampfer, Curhan, Willett, and Rimm); Renal Unit (Drs Thadhani and Curhan) and Department of Emergency Medicine (Dr Camargo), Massachusetts General Hospital; Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health (Drs Stampfer, Willett, and Rimm); and Harvard Medical School (Drs Thadhani, Camargo, Stampfer, Curhan, Willett, and Rimm), Boston, Mass.

Arch Intern Med. 2002;162(5):569-574. doi:10.1001/archinte.162.5.569
Abstract

Background  Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of hypertension. However, the effect of moderate alcohol consumption; the specific effects of wine, beer, and liquor; and the pattern of drinking in relation to risk of hypertension among young women are unclear.

Methods  We prospectively examined the association between alcohol consumption and subsequent risk of hypertension among 70 891 women 25 to 42 years of age.

Results  During the 8 years of follow-up, 4188 cases (5.9%) of incident hypertension were reported. After adjustment for multiple covariates, the association between alcohol consumption and risk of hypertension followed a J-shaped curve. Compared with nondrinkers, the risk of developing hypertension according to average number of drinks consumed per day was as follows: 0.25 or less, 0.96 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.89-1.03); 0.26 to 0.50, 0.86 (95% CI, 0.75-0.98); 0.51 to 1.00, 0.92 (95% CI, 0.82-1.04); 1.01 to 1.50, 1.00 (95% CI, 0.80-1.24); 1.51 to 2.00, 1.20 (95% CI, 0.92-1.58); and more than 2.0 drinks, 1.31 (95% CI, 1.02-1.68). Exclusion of past drinkers yielded similar results. Among women in the highest category of alcohol consumption, there was a suggestion that the increased risk of hypertension was present regardless of the specific beverage consumed (beer, wine, or liquor). Episodic drinking, defined as consumption of more than 10.5 drinks over 3 or fewer days per week, was not associated with increased risk of hypertension (relative risk, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.51-1.23).

Conclusions  The association between alcohol consumption and risk of chronic hypertension in young women follows a J-shaped curve, with light drinkers demonstrating a modest decrease in risk and more regular heavy drinkers demonstrating an increase in risk.

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