This is why binge drinking can lead to not only an increased heart rate but an irregular heartbeat as your cardiovascular system works harder and harder to keep pace. Anyone who is worried about hypertension and has trouble limiting their drinking to moderate levels can talk to a substance abuse counselor to help determine if their drinking has developed into alcohol misuse. Rehab facilities can help people develop the tools they need to live a sober, healthy lifestyle. If someone is worried about hypertension and alcohol use, they should get their blood pressure levels tested and talk to their doctor about how alcohol might be affecting their blood pressure.

how does alcohol affect blood pressure and heart rate

If your heart beats slower or faster (and you’re not exercising), that’s called a heart rhythm disturbance or arrhythmia. While that might sound scary, not all arrhythmias are created equally, as only some can be dangerous. Tasnim, Sara; et al. “Effect of alcohol on blood pressure.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, July 2020. Another way to help slow down your heart rate is to practice stress-relieving activities. You can also try meditation, which can cause your heart to slow dramatically, even going beyond the point of a resting heart rate to the pace typically only experienced while sleeping.

Barden 2017 published data only

The magnitude of the effects of alcohol on blood pressure and heart rate varies, based possibly on genetic factors and on the amount of alcohol consumed. The dose of alcohol had to be reported by study authors for inclusion in the systematic review. Because there are no published standards for differentiating between low and medium doses of alcohol, we chose the alcohol content in one standard drink as the threshold between low dose and medium dose. Because the alcohol content in one standard drink varies among different countries (ranging from 8 g to 14 g), we chose the Canadian standard for an alcoholic beverage, which is 14 g of pure alcohol (CCSA). Accordingly, we considered up to 14 g of alcohol as a low dose of alcohol. Thus, in our review, we used up to 30 g alcohol intake for men and up to 20 g alcohol intake for women as a moderate dose, and above this limit as a high dose.

In addition, we included illustrative risks to present findings for the most important outcome (change in systolic blood pressure). For multi‐arm trials, if a study reported more than one intervention arm, we identified the relevant intervention arm and included that in the review. We followed the same formulae for combining groups if a study reported two different types of alcoholic beverages containing the same amount of alcohol.

What Happens to the Heart Right After You Drink That Glass of Wine?

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you begin a healthier, alcohol-free life in recovery. While becoming sober helps normalize a person’s blood pressure in the long term, people who want to stop drinking should know about alcohol withdrawal and blood pressure. It can cause symptoms like anxiety, shaking, nausea, sweating and trouble sleeping.

And while enjoying celebratory spirits in moderation is alright for most people, it’s important to be aware you can fall victim to holiday heart syndrome if you overdo it. This is when overeating and overindulging in alcohol lead to an irregular heartbeat. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, your health care professional may advise you to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink. To prevent various health complications, including high blood pressure, people should try to limit their alcohol consumption to one or two glasses infrequently.

Bau 2011 published data only

For the purposes of this review, if I² was greater than 50%, it was considered to show a substantial level of heterogeneity. Furthermore, we visually inspected the forest plot to check whether there were any non‐overlapping confidence intervals indicating heterogeneity. Last, we attempted to explore the reason for heterogeneity by looking for clinical and methodological differences between trials.

We are moderately certain that medium-dose alcohol decreased blood pressure and increased heart rate within six hours of consumption. We did not see any significant change in blood pressure or heart rate after that, but the evidence was limited. For medium doses of alcohol, moderate‐certainty evidence shows a decrease in SBP and DBP six hours after alcohol consumption, and low‐certainty evidence suggests a decrease in SBP and DBP for 7 to 12 hours after alcohol consumption. After ≥ 13 hours of consumption, SBP and DBP were raised; the certainty of evidence was low and medium, respectively. This review summarises the acute effects of different doses of alcohol on blood pressure and heart rate in adults (≥ 18 years of age) during three different time intervals after ingestion of alcohol.

Participants in those studies consumed alcohol regularly during the study period, whereas in our systematic review, we included only studies in which participants consumed alcohol for a short period. Based on nine studies, McFadden 2005 reported that the mean increase in SBP was 2.7 mmHg and in DBP was 1.4 mmHg. The inclusion of non‐randomised studies in McFadden 2005, which are known to be at higher risk of bias, is likely the reason for the discrepancy in the magnitude of BP effects. We classified nine studies as having high risk of bias (Agewall 2000; Bau 2011; Buckman 2015; Dumont 2010; Fazio 2004; Karatzi 2013; Maufrais 2017; Rossinen 1997; Van De Borne 1997).

  • Alcohol detox may cause mild to severe symptoms, depending on how long a person used alcohol and how much they tended to drink.
  • Our free email newsletter offers guidance from top addiction specialists, inspiring sobriety stories, and practical recovery tips to help you or a loved one keep coming back and staying sober.
  • One particularly striking study published in 2017 looked at how alcohol can affect your heart rate in social settings.
  • Mean difference (MD) from placebo with 95% confidence interval (CI) was the outcome measure, and a fixed-effect model was used to combine effect sizes across studies.
  • Certain risk factors, like being overweight or not eating a healthy diet, can make you more likely to suffer from these conditions.

These symptoms, combined with the cardiovascular effects of cocaine, are a recipe for an overdose. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), researchers have found that nearly all drugs impact the circulatory system, specifically the cardiovascular system, which regulates heart function. Adverse health consequences of drug abuse on the cardiovascular system range in severity from abnormal heart rate to heart attack and death. Many of the cardiovascular conditions that heavy alcohol use puts you at risk for are connected. For example, atrial fibrillation often occurs because prolonged alcohol use weakens your heart muscle.

How Alcohol Affects the Circulatory System

We excluded 450 trials after reviewing the full‐text articles, and we recorded the reasons for exclusion (see table Characteristics of excluded studies table). Refer to Characteristics of included studies and Table 4 for further details regarding these studies. We conducted a standard Chi² test through Review Manager Software 5.3 to test for heterogeneity (Review Manager (RevMan)). A P value of 0.1 or less was considered to show statistically significant heterogeneity. The I² statistic was used to interpret the level of heterogeneity (Higgins 2011).

how does alcohol affect blood pressure and heart rate

If someone isn’t sure whether they should combine alcohol with their blood pressure medication, they should speak to their doctor or pharmacist to obtain additional information. Nearly half of adults in the United States struggle with some degree of high blood pressure. Alcohol can affect your blood pressure, and heavy alcohol use can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure.

Moderate‐certainty evidence indicates an increase in heart rate after 7 to 12 hours and ≥ 13 hours after high‐dose alcohol consumption, low certainty of evidence was found for moderate dose of alcohol consumption. Hence, we conducted additional analyses to see if the very high dose of alcohol (≥ 60 g or ≥ 1 g/kg) had any dose‐related effects compared to lower high doses of alcohol (31 to 59 g of alcohol) (see Table 9). Results suggest that the decrease in BP with very high doses of alcohol is greater compared to lower high doses of alcohol.

how does alcohol affect blood pressure and heart rate

For example, some beers — especially craft beers — can contain about twice as much alcohol as above. Cortisol increases the release of catecholamines, which are chemicals in the body that help regulate many processes and help keep the body functioning as it should. It also regulates metabolism, immune function, and inflammatory pathways. We graded the overall certainty of evidence using the GRADE approach via GRADEpro GDT software (GRADEpro 2014); we formulated summary of findings (SoF) tables. As planned, we conducted sensitivity analyses to see if there was any significant difference between effect estimates of outcomes given by the fixed‐effect model and the random‐effects model, when substantial heterogeneity was present. The result is presented in Table 6; there was no significant difference between results given by the two models.

Review Manager (RevMan) [Computer program]

Some evidence suggests that reducing alcohol intake in heavy drinkers could help reduce BP, but much more research is required to validate these observations. Notably, studies have shown that alcohol dehydrogenase variants occur in different individuals and that categorization according to variant nullifies the protective effect of moderate alcohol intake. We identified Stott 1987 and Barden 2013 from Analysis 3.1 and Analysis 3.2 as having a considerably lower standard error (SE) of the mean difference (MD) compared to the other included studies. Assuming that the low SEs of MDs reported in Stott 1987 and Barden 2013 are errors and are not reliable, we replaced these measures with the average SE of MD from the rest of the included studies. We contacted the study authors for missing or unclear information relevant to the review using contact information provided in their respective articles. If the dose of a study was not reported in the article and the study author did not respond to our request, we excluded that study.

  • The study also found that alcohol, especially when consumed in higher amounts, temporarily lowered the participants’ heart rate variability, a measure of the variation in time between heartbeats.
  • If you’re consistently experiencing a rapid heart rate after drinking, that may be a sign that you’ve developed an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.
  • That fourth drink at the bar may feel like it’s relaxing you, but it’s actually affecting your body differently than you might think.
  • To prevent various health complications, including high blood pressure, people should try to limit their alcohol consumption to one or two glasses infrequently.
  • Jessica graduated from the University of South Florida (USF) with an English degree and combines her writing expertise and passion for helping others to deliver reliable information to those impacted by addiction.
  • This is when your heart-pumping function gets weaker and your heart gets larger due to changes from heavy alcohol use over a long period of time.