Consumption of alcohol and blood pressure: Results of the ELSA-Brasil study

PLoS One. 2018 Jan 8;13(1):e0190239. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0190239. eCollection 2018.


Background: Prevention and reduction of excessive use of alcohol represents damages to society in general. In turn, arterial hypertension is the main attributable risk factor premature life lost years and disability.

Objective: To investigate the relationship between alcohol consumption and high blood pressure in participants of the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil).

Methodology: A baseline data of total of 7,655 participants volunteers between 35 and 74 years of age, of both genders, in six educational and research institutions of three different regions of the country were interviewed between 2008-2010. Socioeconomic, haemodynamic, anthropometric and health data were collected in the research centers of ELSA-Brasil. The presence of high blood pressure was identified when the systolic blood pressure was ≥140 mm Hg and/or the diastolic was ≥90 mm Hg. Alcohol consumption was estimated and categorized regarding consumption and pattern of ingestion. The Student's t-test, chi-squared and logistic regression tests were used for analysis, including potential co-variables of the model, and a 5% significance level was adopted.

Results: A dose-response relation was observed for the consumption of alcohol (g/week) in systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. Alcohol consumption was associated with high blood pressure in men who reported moderate (OR = 1.69; 95%CI 1.35-2.11) and excessive (OR = 2.70; 95%CI 2.04-3.59) consumption. Women have nearly three times more chance of presenting elevated blood pressure when presenting excessive consumption (OR = 2.86, 95%CI 1.77-4.63), and binge drinkers who drink more than 2 to 3 times a month have approximately 70% more chance of presenting with elevated blood pressure, after adjusting for consumption of drinks with meals.

Conclusion: The consumption of alcohol beverages increases the odds of elevated blood pressure, especially among excessive drinkers. Therefore alcohol consumption needs a more robust regulation in view of its impact on population health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Brazil
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged

Grant support

The ELSA-Brasil baseline study including this validation sub study was supported by the Brazilian Ministry of Health (Science and Technology Department) and the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology and CNPq - National Research Council) (grants # 01 06 0010.00 RS, 01 06 0212.00 BA, 01 06 0300.00 ES, 01 06 0278.00 MG, 01 06 0115.00 SP, 01 06 0071.00 RJ). NMT Santana was recipient from a MS scholarship from FAPES. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.