Epidemiological studies have established the association between excessive alcohol consumption and systemic hypertension (SH). However, there are conflicting reports of the association of low to moderate alcohol consumption with SH. The objective of the study was to examine the associations of alcohol consumption and blood pressure categories using the 2017 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association high blood pressure guidelines. This analysis included 17,059 participants from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Alcohol consumption was ascertained by way of a questionnaire. Blood pressure (mm Hg) was measured during the in-home interview and the participant's visit to the mobile examination center. We used multivariable logistic regression models to examine cross-sectional associations of alcohol consumption and blood pressure categories based on new American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association High Blood Pressure guidelines. Models were adjusted for age, gender, income, and cardiovascular risk factors. Compared with never drinkers, moderate drinkers (7 to 13 drinks/week) had increased odds of prevalent stage 1 and stage 2 SH (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] 1.51 [1.22 to 1.87] and 1.55 [1.20 to 2.00]). Similarly, there were significantly higher odds of prevalent stage 1 and stage 2 SH among heavy drinkers (≥14 drinks/week) (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] 1.65 [1.33 to 2.05] and 2.46 [1.93 to 3.14]). We did not find any association between alcohol consumption and elevated blood pressure category. Response bias must be considered because alcohol consumption was self-reported. Our study indicates the need for further research to understand the potential mechanisms by which alcohol consumption increases the risk of SH. In conclusion, this analysis from a population-based survey showed an association between moderate and heavy alcohol consumption and a higher prevalence of SH.
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