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People who Flush due to Alcohol have a greater risk of Alcohol-Related Hypertension

Update Date: Nov 20, 2013 08:31 AM EST

Alcohol consumption, especially in excess, can be extremely detrimental to one's health. Researchers have found that excessive drinking contributes to hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. In a new study, researchers found that people who drink and experience facial flushing have an increased sensitivity to alcohol and might have an even greater risk of hypertension.

"Facial flushing after drinking is always considered as a symptom of high alcohol sensitivity or even intolerance to alcohol, unless a patient is taking special medicine," said Jong Sung Kim, head of the department of family medicine at Chungnam National University School of Medicine. "The facial flushing response to drinking usually occurs in a person who cannot genetically break down acetaldehyde, the first metabolite of alcohol."

For this study, Kim and his fellow colleagues examined medical data from 1,763 men. 288 of them did not consume alcohol, 527 of them flushed when they drank and 948 of them did not flush when they drank. The men were due for a health check-up. The medical records revealed that men who flushed when they drank alcohol had a lower tolerance and were more likely to have alcohol-related hypertension.

"Our results indicate that hypertension associated with drinking has a lower threshold value and higher risk in flushers than in non-flushers. 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," Kim said "Our research findings suggest that clinicians and researchers should, respectively, consider evaluating their patients' flushing response to alcohol as well as drinking amount in a daily routine care, and researching hazard by drinking."

The study was published in Alcoholism: Clinical Experimental Research.

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