Moderate Drinking with Type 2 Diabetes Increases Hypertension Risk

More than one drink in patients with type 2 diabetes is associated with increased hypertension, a new study suggests.

“This is the first large study to specifically investigate the association of alcohol intake and hypertension among adults with Type 2 diabetes,” senior author Matthew J. Singleton, MD, MBE, MHS, MSc, chief electrophysiology fellow at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, said in a press release. “Previous studies have suggested that heavy alcohol consumption was associated with high blood pressure, however, the association of moderate alcohol consumption with high blood pressure was unclear.”

Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, a total of 10,200 eligible participants from the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) trial were studied. Patients had type 2 diabetes fro an average of 10 years prior to the enrollment, and were at an increased risk for cardiovascular events. The researchers categorized alcohol consumption as either none, light (1-7 drinks per week), moderate (8 to 14 drinks per week), and heavy (15 or more drinks per week). One alcoholic beverage was defined as a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of heard liquor. They used the ACC/AHA guidelines for defining stage 1 and stage 2 hypertension. Multivariable logistic regression was used to explore links between alcohol consumption and prevalent hypertension.

According to the study results, light alcohol consumption was not linked with elevated blood pressure or with any stage of hypertension. Moderate consumptionn, however, was associated with elevated blood pressure (OR=1.79; 95% CI, 1.04 to 3.11; P=0.03), stage 1 hypertension (OR=1.66; 95% CI, 1.05 to 2.60), and stage 2 hypertension (OR=1.62; 95% CI, 1.03 to 2.54; P=0.03). As expected, heavy alcohol consumption was also linked with elevated blood pressure (OR=1.91; 95% CI, 1.17 to 3.12, P=0.01), stage 1 hypertension (OR=2.49; 95% CI, 1.03 to 6.17; P=0.03), and stage 2 hypertension (OR=3.04; 95% CI, 1.28 to 7.22; P=0.01).

Limitations included the scope of the assessment tool, which consisted of a single-time questionnaire, meaning that the results did not account for changes in alcohol consumption over time.

“Though light to moderate alcohol consumption may have positive effects on cardiovascular health in the general adult population, both moderate and heavy alcohol consumption appear to be independently associated with higher odds of high blood pressure among those with Type 2 diabetes,” Singleton said. “Lifestyle modification, including tempering alcohol consumption, may be considered in patients with Type 2 diabetes, particularly if they are having trouble controlling their blood pressure.”