Objective: To investigate the association of alcohol intake with development of hypertension.
Design: Longitudinal study (followed from 1990 to 1999).
Setting: Work site in Osaka, Japan.
Participants: Japanese male office workers (n = 1,310) hypertension-free, with systolic blood pressure (SBP) less than 140 mmHg, diastolic blood pressure (DBP) less than 90 mmHg, no medication for hypertension, and no past history of hypertension, 30 to 59 years of age at study entry.
Main outcome measure: Incidence of hypertension.
Results: After controlling for potential predictors of hypertension, the relative risk for hypertension (SBP 140 mmHg or greater and/or DBP 90 mmHg or greater or receipt of antihypertensive medication) compared with non-drinkers was 1.52 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.05 to 2.19] for persons who drank 0.1 to 22.9 g/day of ethanol, 1.81 (95% CI, 1.29 to 2.54) for those who drank 23.0 to 45.9 g/day of ethanol, 2.12 (95% CI, 1.53 to 2.94) for those who drank 46.0 to 68.9 g/day of ethanol, and 2.48 (95% CI, 1.75 to 3.52) for those who drank > or = 69.0 g/day of ethanol (for trend, P < 0.001). The relative risk for hypertension in current drinkers versus non-drinkers was stronger among men with a body mass index (BMI) less than 24.2 kg/m2 than among men with a BMI 24.2 kg/m2 or more, although the absolute risk was greater in more obese men.
Conclusions: The risk for hypertension increased in a dose-dependent manner as alcohol intake increased in middle-aged Japanese men. The increased relative risk for hypertension associated with alcohol was more pronounced in leaner men.