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High Blood Pressure and Alcohol Abuse

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high blood pressure and alcohol use

Alcohol and drugs have been known to impact an individual’s body. Overall, the effects a person experiences will be dependent on the specific substance but generally will include several adverse health effects. The severity of side effects from a substance can range from worrisome to life-threatening. 

Even though several prescription medications suggest to be used as directed, they can also cause high blood pressure. High blood pressure and alcohol surely share a dynamic relationship. In today’s blog, ‘Does alcohol cause high blood pressure will be answered. Substance abuse also has the ability to pose a threat to a person’s pressure. There are also several drug and drug withdrawal symptoms that can spike an individual’s blood pressure. 

What Is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is considered to be the result of the overall effort that is exerted by a person’s blood moving against their artery walls. The majority of individuals are familiar with a blood pressure format. For example, a person’s blood pressure can read 120/80 mm Hg.

The first number is called systolic and it’s measured when the heartbeats and the blood pressure against the individual’s artery’s wall are at their absolute highest. The second number is diastolic which is measured between the heartbeats when the pressure against the individual’s artery wall is at its lowest. Furthermore, high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, happens when a person’s blood pressure exceeds the normal range.

The blood pressure is described by two numbers. Two numbers correlate with a person’s heart directly. Furthermore, the systolic pressure reads when the person’s heart beats or pumps blood. The lower number reads when a person’s heart is at rest. 

When blood pressure is at or lower than the range of 119/79 it is considered normal. At the same time, if blood pressure is at or over 140/90, it is considered high. Furthermore, drug-induced hypertension is considered a form of secondary high blood pressure. The fortunate part about secondary high blood pressure is that it might resolve if the drug use or medication is ceased. However, it’s vital to understand this isn’t true in every case. 

More About Blood Pressure

In the more rare cases, and more often than not, high blood pressure levels can become critical. Once this occurs, a variety of symptoms might also accompany high blood pressure. The symptoms that can accompany high blood pressure are:

  • Shortness of breath 
  • Nosebleeds
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea

However, generally, high blood pressure is usually asymptomatic, also meaning without symptoms. For this particular reason, high blood pressure is often referred to as more of the “silent killer”. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye out for the disease and its progression. 

The Link Between High Blood Pressure and Alcohol 

Alcohol and drugs can affect an individual’s central nervous system. The central nervous system is considered a vital component and system in the body that downgrades vital regulatory systems. These systems are more responsible for the items we need to thrive and live such as:

  • Blood pressure
  • Respiration 
  • Heart rate

Drug-induced hypertension can occur when a drug engages in the following:

  • Causing a person to retain higher than average amounts of sodium and fluid volumes outside of the cells that distinctly increase
  • Interferes with medications that are utilized to lower a person’s blood pressure
  • Activates the sympathetic nervous system
  • Affects the arteriolar smooth muscles

Also, there are several risk factors that can put an individual at an increased risk for hypertension, including:

  • Lack of vitamin D or potassium intake
  • High sodium intake
  • Physical inactivity
  • Family history
  • Weight gain 
  • Stress
  • Age

Effects of Alcohol on Blood Pressure

High blood pressure or alcohol-related hypertension impacts roughly about 16% of the population. According to the CDC, about half of the U.S. adults will have some form of high blood pressure or take blood pressure medications. In a study that is found in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, it was stated that just one drink can raise a person’s blood pressure. 

It’s essential to note that early hypertension normally doesn’t bring on noticeable symptoms, but it can damage an individual’s kidneys, brain, heart, and arteries slowly. When hypertension is untreated, it can lead to a stroke and heart attack eventually. As stated by the CDC, binge drinking is defined as four drinks in about 2 hours for women, and five drinks in about 2 hours for men. 

One of the first steps of alcoholism treatment is alcohol withdrawal, and it can also affect blood pressure. For this reason, this is partly why it’s vital to undergo detox under medical supervision. 

Drugs That Cause Blood Pressure Changes

Even though drugs can cause a person’s blood pressure levels to rise, there are numerous commonly used substances that pose this risk. The following drugs that have been linked to the concerns of high blood pressure are the following:

Methylated amphetamine: These are often referred to as designer drugs such as Ecstasy. Hallucinogens might create a hypertensive crisis, which is considered a potentially life-threatening condition that happens when blood pressure spikes rapidly to critical levels. 

Cannabinoids: Cannabinoids, including hashish and marijuana, can cause high blood pressure when it is smoked. This is specifically a danger for individuals that are already undergoing cardiovascular concerns. 

PCP: PCP is linked to an overall decrease of two neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and epinephrine, which then escalates the sympathetic nervous system functioning. 

Alcohol: Hypertension is associated with binge drinking and chronic alcohol use. When there is a withdrawal from alcohol, it might cause blood pressure changes. This is one of the many ways that high blood pressure and alcohol are related. 

Amphetamines: High blood pressure or hypertension is considered to be widespread among individuals who engage in amphetamine use. Having a stroke is one of the most significant concerns. 

Cocaine: Hypertension or high blood pressure is considered common among individuals who engage in cocaine use. It might be reduced if other side effects that are obtainable to cocaine are decreased. Overall, withdrawal from specific drugs that don’t normally pose a threat to hypertension during use, like opiates, can cause hypertension also. 

The Risks of Hypertension

High blood pressure or hypertension can be considered dangerous. In some instances of drug abuse, it could be temporary or in chronic abuse circumstances, it could be prolonged. If high blood pressure is uncontrolled or untreated, it can cause:

Heart failure: As a person’s blood pressure rises, the heart has to be maintained with increased resistance and thickened in order to pump the blood. This process can eventually cause the heart to struggle. Furthermore, resulting in an inadequate amount of blood reaching the body. 

Stroke: High blood pressure is considered to be the number one reason or cause of stroke. The stroke is caused by similar obstacles as a heart attack. When a ruptured vessel is near or within the person’s brain due to the high blood pressure, it can cause a stroke. 

Heart attack: Extended high blood pressure can cause an individual’s arteries to thicken and then harden. This process is also known as atherosclerosis. In turn, this can cause a heart attack. 

Aneurysm: High blood pressure might decrease the overall strength of the blood vessels, further causing them to swell. If an aneurysm was to rupture, an individual’s life might be jeopardized. 

Cognitive difficulties: An individual might experience difficulties learning, retaining, or even accessing information. Therefore they might struggle to think or understand things. 

Substance Addiction Treatment Can Help High Blood Pressure and Alcohol Abuse

More often than not, substance addiction is linked to various mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety. For example, if an individual experiences work or familial issues, the mental health issues can be increased. Generally, people will turn to substances as an attempt to get over depression and anxiety

Substance addiction treatment can assist individuals in identifying triggers and guiding an individual in discovering healthy coping skills. A treatment center that offers therapy focused on depression, anxiety, or substance use will provide an individual with the care they need to be based on the substance or mental health disorder. Once an individual has their mental health or substance abuse addiction addressed, a person can learn how to include healthier habits into their daily routine. 

The above-mentioned habits can increase an individual’s well-being because they can have their high blood pressure and alcohol addiction decreased. Therefore, the following will also be decreased. 

  • Risk of hypertension 
  • A heart attack 
  • Stroke

Does Alcohol Cause High Blood Pressure?

Alcohol use can cause high blood pressure to worsen. When an individual engages in too much alcohol consumption, blood pressure can be raised to unhealthy levels. For example, when there are more than three drinks consumed in one sitting, blood pressure can be temporarily raised. Repeated binge drinking can definitely lead to long-term increases and obstacles. 

Women-Only Treatment in California Can Help Alcohol Abuse

Here at New Directions for Women, we understand that women are different from men, and so are their needs. We can help you beat your alcohol addiction at our women-only treatment facilities. With our several levels of care and experienced professional staff, victory is here. 

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