How Does Alcohol Cause Hypertension?

Alcohol drinkers often experience high blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends drinking moderate amounts, if you drink, 1 to 2 drinks per day. Drinkers without a heart and regulatory system strong enough to control the effects of drinking, suffer a rise in blood pressure when the body adapts to too much after and an overactive central nervous system.

High blood pressure, 140/90 millimeters of mercury or above, occurs hen the blood flow is too strong for the dilation of the arteries and arterioles in the heart and muscles or when the vascular system constricts too much for the blood flow. Natural vascular control allows the blood to pass through the arteries easily. A salt balance maintains normal boy water levels. Normal nerve functioning keeps the vascular system open the right amount for the blood flow.

Too Much Salt or Water

Drinking alcohol causes the amount of water stored in the body to increase. With higher salt retention, the body retains more water. The excess water burdens the heart and arteries, constraining the fluid space for blood in the arteries for blood passage. With too little room for normal blood flow, blood pressure increases to move enough blood through the body.

Overactive Central Nervous System

Alcohol absorption can alert the nervous system. Doctor Bassam Moushmoush in a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 1991 says the one reported cause for the incidence of high blood pressure when a person drinks alcohol is an overactive nervous system. The adrenal gland produces more epinephrine, raising the blood pressure above 140/90 millimeters of mercury. The regulatory hormone tells the heart to increase its work in the body. The nerves in the muscular areas constrict the arteries and arterioles too much, leaving too small a passage for blood.

Alcohol Withdrawal

The nervous system can become excitable after drinking that changes the nervous system's control for the vascular system. Blood pressure can rise because the overactive nervous system constricts the muscular arteries and arterioles. The effect lasts until the withdrawal ends.