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Incidence of hypertension by alcohol consumption: is it modified by race?

Steffens, André Avelinoa; Moreira, Leila Beltramib; Fuchs, Sandra Costac; Wiehe, Márioa; Gus, Miguela; Fuchs, Flávio Dannia

doi: 10.1097/01.hjh.0000239282.27938.0f
Original papers: Lifestyle

Objective To investigate the influence of race, binge drinking and alcohol addiction on the association between consumption of alcoholic beverages and incidence of hypertension.

Methods In a population-based cohort study, 1089 adults were interviewed and had blood pressure and anthropometric measurements carried out at home. Their alcohol consumption was ascertained by an amount–frequency questionnaire. Binge drinking was defined as consumption of five or more drinks on one occasion for men or four drinks for women, and abuse of alcohol as consumption of 30 g/day or more in men or 15 g/day or more in women. Incident cases of hypertension were characterized by blood pressure ≥ 140/90 mmHg or use of hypertension medication.

Results Among 589 normotensive individuals in the baseline visit, 127 incident cases of hypertension were identified, after a follow-up of 5.6 ± 1.1 years. Binge drinking and alcohol dependency were not associated with the incidence of hypertension. Adjusted (age, education) risk ratios for the incidence of hypertension (95% confidence interval) were significant only for non-white abusers of ethanol: 11.8 (1.6–86.9). Systolic blood pressure of black abusers increased by 16.1 ± 3.5 mmHg, in comparison with 4.9 ± 1.5 mmHg among white abusers (P = 0.004).

Conclusion Individuals with an African ancestry, who consumed larger amounts of ethanol, are at higher risk of developing hypertension. This risk is not explained by a binge drinking pattern or addiction to alcohol.

aDivisions of Cardiology, Brazil

bClinical Pharmacology, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Brazil

cDepartment of Social Medicine, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Received 6 December, 2005

Revised 24 January, 2006

Accepted 16 March, 2006

Correspondence and requests for reprints to Dr. Flávio Danni Fuchs, Serviço de Cardiologia, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Ramiro Barcelos, 2350, 90.035-003, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil Tel/fax: +5551 2101 8420; e-mail:

Sponsorship: This work was supported by grants from CNPq and FAPERGS.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.