The growing popularity of binge drinking tourism has attracted increased attention to the health effects of heavy alcohol consumption in young adults.
As binge drinking increases both systolic and diastolic BP during periods of intoxication and decreases BP while blood alcohol levels fall, many vascular alcohol-related events (such as stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, brain infarction) can be explained by the phenomenon.
What is Binge Drinking?
'Binge' is a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 gram percent or above. For the typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming five or more drinks (male), or four or more drinks (female), in about two hours. (NIAAA 2004, p. 3)
How Binge Drinking Affects BP Values?
The major and rapid changes of BP increases the risk for stroke which is seen in increased numbers among young adults, especially during weekends and holidays.
The relationship between binge drinking and BP values has been studied with the contribution of 20 healthy men who drank alcohol under controlled circumstances.
Their alcohol-fuelled ambulatory BP measurement values were compared with their sober ambulatory BP measurement values separately during the following periods:
- 6 hrs of intoxication
During intoxication their mean SYS and DIA BP values were higher and their pulse were also faster.
- 6 hrs when blood alcohol levels decreased
While alcohol levels decreased, their mean SYS and DIA BP values were lower, but their pulse was faster.
- 6 hrs of hangover
The hangover period did not bring any significant differences between the alcholo-fuelled and sober periods.
The intoxication period presented higher BP values, while the same BP values turned to be lower than the basic level when blood alcohol levels decreased. These rapid changes can be considered as risk factors for adverse vascular events.
Meditech is one of the worldwide leading manufacturers of ambulatory BP monitors that were used for the above study as well.