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Binge Drinking Tied to Hypertension in Young Males

Update Date: Oct 21, 2014 09:26 AM EDT

Young men who binge drink are more likely to develop hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, a new study reported. Binge drinking is a pattern of consumption in which the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels reach 0.08 g/dL. In men, reaching that BAC level typically occurs after drinking five drinks in roughly two hours.

For this study, the research team headed by Sarah Twichell, MD, from Boston Children's Hospital, examined data gathered by the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS). The study involved children between the ages eight and 14 at the beginning of the study, which was in 1996. The participants were tracked with detailed surveys that were administered every one to two years. Overall, there were 8,605 participants who responded to the 2010 survey.

Based from these surveys, the researchers discovered that young adult men who were frequent binge drinkers over the past year had a 1.7-times greater risk of having hypertension. In young adolescent males, however, there was no link between binge drinking and future risk of hypertension.

For women, binge drinking was not tied to a greater risk of developing hypertension. Women who reported light to moderate alcohol consumption had a reduced risk of hypertension. Hypertension, which is diagnosed by a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg or above, is a serious health condition that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

"Further study of alcohol use in young adulthood may provide insights into the early development of hypertension," concluded Dr. Twichell according to the press release.

The study, "Adolescent Alcohol Use and the Development of Hypertension in Early Adulthood," will be presented at the ASN Kidney Week 2014 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

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