Alcohol and Cardiovascular Disease among Women with Hypertension

A large study of 10,530 hypertensive women found moderate alcohol consumption to be associated with significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular disease compared to lifetime abstainers.

Alcohol consumption was assessed with a validated questionnaire and participants were followed for 9. 9 years. Moderate drinkers experienced a 28% reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease compared to life-long non-drinkers.

Because women with high blood pressure derive significant benefit from drinking alcohol in moderation, the medical researchers conclude that the current guidelines for alcohol consumption in the general population are also appropriate for hypertensive women.

The moderate consumption of alcohol (beer, wine, and liquor or distilled spirits) is also associated with better health and greater longevity than either abstaining or abusing alcoholic beverages.

Standard drinks of beer, wine and distilled spirits contain equivalent amounts of alcohol. A standard drink refers to:

  • a 12-ounce bottle or can of regular beer
  • a five-ounce glass of dinner wine
  • a shot of liquor or spirits (either straight or in a mixed drink)

They're all the same to a breathalyzer and to both good health and long life. For more, visit Standard Drinks.

Note: This website makes no recommendations regarding alcohol consumption, cardiovascular disease, or hypertension and none should be inferred.


  • Alcohol consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease among hypertensive women. Bos, S., et al. European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation, 2010, 17 (1), 119-126.

Readings on Alcohol, Cardiovascular Disease, and Hypertension:

  • (listing does not imply endorsement)
  • Beilin, L.J., et al. Effect of chronic ethanol consumption upon cardiovascular reactivity, heart rate and blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive and Wistar-Kyoto rats. Journal of Hypertension, 1992, 10(7), 6450-6455.
  • Bernardy, N.C., et al. Cardiovascular responses to physical and psychological stress in female alcoholics with transitory hypertension after early abstinence. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2003, 27(9), 1489-1498.
  • Britton, K.A., et al. Relation of alcohol consumption and coronary heart disease in hypertensive male physicians (from the Physicians' Health Study). American journal of Cardiology, 2009, 104(7), 932-935.
  • Beulens, J., et al. Alcohol consumption and risk for coronary heart disease among men with hypertension. The Annals of Internal Medicine, 2007, 146(1), 10-19.
  • Campbell, N.R., et al. Lifestyle modifications to prevent and control hypertension. 3. Recommendations on alcohol consumption. Canadian Hypertension Society, Canadian Coalition for High Blood Pressure Prevention and Control, Laboratory Centre for Disease Control at Health Canada, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 1999, 160(9), Suppl: S13-20.
  • Catena, C, et al. Serum lipoprotein(a) concentrations and alcohol consumption in hypertension: possible relevance for cardiovascular damage. Journal of Hypertension, 2003, 21(2), 281-288.
  • Djousse, L. and Gaziano, J. Alcohol Consumption and Heart Failure in Hypertensive US Male Physicians. American Journal of Cardiology, 2008, 102(5), 593-597.
  • Freiberg, M.S., et al. Alcohol consumption, hypertension, and total mortality among women. American Journal of Hypertension, 2009, 22(11), 1212-1218.
  • Malinski, M.K., et al. Alcohol consumption and cardiovascular diesase mortality in hypertensive men, Archives of Internal Medicine, 2004, 164(6), 623-628.
  • Hall, C.E., and Hall, O. Macromolecular hypertension: Hypertensive carciovascular disease from subcutaneously administered polyvinyl alcohol. Experientia, 1962, 18, 38-40.
  • Hedblad, B., and Janzon, L. Hypertension and silent myocardial ischemia: their influence on cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. Cardiology, 1994, 85(Suppl. 2), 219-226.
  • Kawano, Y., et al. Acute depressor effect of alcohol in patients with essential hypertension. Hypertension, 1992, 20(2), 219-226.
  • Kawano, Y., et al. Effects of propranolol on cardiovascular and neurohumoral actions of alcohol in hypertensive patients. Blood Pressure, 1999, 8(1), 37-42.
  • Kawano, Y., et al. Interaction of alcohol and an alpha1-blocker on ambulatory blood pressured in patients with essential hypertension. American Journal of Hypertension, 2000, 13(3), 307-312.
  • Kawano, Y., et al. Effects of alcohol consumption and restriction on home blood pressure in hypertensive patients. Clinical and Experimental Hypertension, 2002, 24(1-2), 33-39.
  • Onal, A.E., et al. The prevalence of and risk factors for hypertension in adults living in Istanbul. Blood Pressure, 2004, 13(1), 31-36.
  • Palmer, A.J., et al. Alcohol intake and cardiovascular mortality in hypertensive patients: A report from the Department of Health Hypertension Care Computing Project. Joiurnal of Hypertension, 1995, 13(19), 932-935.
  • Suter, P.M. and Vetter, W. The effect of alcohol on blood pressure. Nutrition in Clinical Care, 2000, 3(1), 24-34.

Filed Under: Heart | Womens Health