People Who Flush After Drinking Face Greater Hypertension Risk

Researchers have found that people who flush after drinking alcohol are at a higher risk for drinking-related hypertension compared to non-flushers.

AsianScientist (Nov. 27, 2013) – Excessive drinking is a known risk factor for hypertension, while drinking that results in facial flushing indicates high sensitivity or even intolerance to alcohol.

A study of the relationship between drinking and these two conditions has found that flushers are at a higher risk for drinking-related hypertension compared to non-flushers. Results will be published in the April 2014 issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

“Facial flushing after alcohol drinking differs across gender, age, and ethnic groups,” said Kyung Hwan Cho, president of the Korean Academy of Family Medicine. “In general, it is more common in women, the elderly, and East Asians versus Westerners.”

Cho noted that it is well known that excessive alcohol consumption is associated with elevated blood pressure and the likely development of hypertension.

Led by Jong Sung Kim, head of the department of family medicine at Chungnam National University School of Medicine, the team collected data from the medical records of 1,763 men (288 non-drinkers, 527 flushing drinkers, 948 non-flushing drinkers) who had received a health check-up. The risk of hypertension related to the weekly drinking amount by non-flushers and flushers was analyzed and compared with the risk of hypertension among non-drinkers.

“Our results indicate that hypertension associated with drinking has a lower threshold value and higher risk in flushers than in non-flushers,” said Kim.

“After adjusting for age, body mass index, exercise status, and smoking status, the risk of hypertension was significantly increased when flushers consumed more than four drinks per week. In contrast, in non-flushers, the risk increased with consuming more than eight drinks per week.”

According to Kim, the facial flushing response to drinking usually occurs in people who cannot genetically break down acetaldehyde, the first metabolite of alcohol. He added that these results indicate that facial flushing after drinking may potentially serve as a marker of risk for hypertension associated with drinking.

The article can be found at: Jung J et al. (2013) Hypertension Associated with Alcohol Consumption Based on the Facial Flushing Reaction to Drinking.


Source: Chungnam University; Photo: Terence l.s.m/Flickr/CC.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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