Alcohol reduces insulin-hypertension relationship in a general population: the Hisayama study

J Clin Epidemiol. 2002 Sep;55(9):863-9. doi: 10.1016/s0895-4356(02)00441-9.


Insulin resistance may be a factor in the etiology of hypertension, and habitual alcohol intake may modify this relationship. We prospectively examined this hypothesis in 1,133 nonhypertensive, nondiabetic Japanese subjects, aged 40-79 years. Alcohol drinkers were more frequent among men than women at baseline (57.7 vs. 8.2%). The age-adjusted incidence of hypertension significantly increased with the elevating baseline insulin levels in women (P =.003 for trend), but not in men. The age- and sex-adjusted insulin levels and insulin resistance index decreased with elevating alcohol intake, while fasting glucose levels remained unchanged, suggesting that alcohol improves insulin sensitivity. Among nondrinkers, the age-adjusted incidence of hypertension significantly increased with elevating insulin tertiles in both sexes (P =.048 and.002 for trend in men and women, respectively), but not among drinkers. Our findings suggest a close association between insulin resistance and the incidence of hypertension in Japanese. However, alcohol modified and reduced this relationship.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / metabolism
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Incidence
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Insulin
  • Triglycerides