The growing popularity of binge drinking tourism has attracted increased attention to the health effects of heavy alcohol consumption in young adults.
As binge drinking increases both systolic and diastolic BP during periods of intoxication and decreases BP while blood alcohol levels fall, many vascular alcohol-related events (such as stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, brain infarction) can be explained by the phenomenon.
What is Binge Drinking?
'Binge' is a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 gram percent or above. For the typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming five or more drinks (male), or four or more drinks (female), in about two hours. (NIAAA 2004, p. 3)
How Binge Drinking Affects BP Values?
The major and rapid changes of BP increases the risk for stroke which is seen in increased numbers among young adults, especially during weekends and holidays.
The relationship between binge drinking and BP values has been studied with the contribution of 20 healthy men who drank alcohol under controlled circumstances.
Their alcohol-fuelled ambulatory BP measurement values were compared with their sober ambulatory BP measurement values separately during the following periods:
- 6 hrs of intoxication
During intoxication their mean SYS and DIA BP values were higher and their pulse were also faster.
- 6 hrs when blood alcohol levels decreased
While alcohol levels decreased, their mean SYS and DIA BP values were lower, but their pulse was faster.
- 6 hrs of hangover
The hangover period did not bring any significant differences between the alcholo-fuelled and sober periods.
The intoxication period presented higher BP values, while the same BP values turned to be lower than the basic level when blood alcohol levels decreased. These rapid changes can be considered as risk factors for adverse vascular events.
Meditech is one of the worldwide leading manufacturers of ambulatory BP monitors that were used for the above study as well.
Reserachers found that lowering systolic blood pressure (BP) below 120 mmHg does not always reduce the risk of adverse cardiovascular (CV) events such as heart attack, heart failure, stroke or sudden death linked to coronary heart disease.
Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center followed 4,480 participants for 21 years in the framework of the 'Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study' and examined whether systolic BP lower than 120 mmHg in hypertensive patients lowered the risk of adverse CV events.
Systolic BP Chategorization
Elevated Systolic BP > 140 mmHg
Standard Systolic BP is between 120 – 139 mmHg
Low systolic BP < 120 mmHg
If systolic BP is below 140 mmHg, lowering it below 120 does not further lower the risk of CV events.
According to the study, the optimal BP range for people with high blood pressure is between 120 and 139 mmHg, which significantly reduces the risk of stroke, heart attack or heart failure and it is not necessary to go below the range to have all the benefits.
Study findings, however, yet need to be confirmed by a large clinical trial which is just under way.
Meditech (Budapest, Hungary) is one of the worldwide technology leaders in the areas of ambulatory BP and Holter ECG monitoring. Since 1990, Meditech monitors have been distributed to primary care providers, specialists, diagnostic labs, community hospitals, university clinc, research institutes, medical device distributors, pharmaceutical companies. Meditech ambulatory BP monitors are sold in private label and OEM partnership as well.
Microvascular disease, a condition during which the small arteries in the heart become narrowed, is more common in women and in people who have Type 1 diabetes or high blood pressure. Narrowing of the small arteries leads to complete occlsuion (capillary obliteration).
Damage to the cardiovascular system is necessary to be explored before the disease is well established. Therefore, a recent study explores the use of such early investigation techniques as 24-hr blood pressure monitoring, nailfold capillaroscopy, laser doppler flowmetry, and retinal vessel analysis in a paediatric and adolescent population with type 1 diabetes.
Alternative Methods for Early Detection
24-hr blood pressure monitoring is an alternative to traditional clinic blood pressure monitoring and provides numerous advantages, such as:
- repetative blood pressure measurements are taken
- over a 24-hr period
- included night-time blood pressure.
The 24-hr blood pressure profile consists of the systolic and diastolic blood pressure for the active (day) and passive (night) periods with pulse, mean arterial pressure, hypertension load, hypertensive time index and diurnal (day/night) index.
The diurnal index explores the daytime and nighttime blood pressure ratio. If the ratio is below 10%, diabetes, target organ damage or a non-efficient antihypertensive drug treatment should be considered.
During a nailfold capillaroscopy a drop of oil is placed on the patient's skin at the base of the nail, which is examined under a microscope to look for abnormalities of the capillaries. Some studies have found morphological abnormalities in adult populations with type 1 diabetes.
Laser doppler flowmetry is a method for assessing microvascular blood floow. Response differences may be shown between patients with and without type 1 diabetes.
Retinal vessel analysis is a technique to assess the behaviour of large retinal vessels based on diameter measurements. Earlier studies found that there is a relationship between a wider arteriolar diameter and retinopathy in adolescents with type 1 diabetes.
24-hour blood pressure monitoring, nailfold capillaroscopy, laser dopplet flowmetry and retinal vessel analysis showed microvascular changes in participants. According to study findings, type 1 diabetes associated microvascular complications can be detected earlier by these alternative methods.
Meditech 24-hour blood pressure monitors (ABPM-05 and ABPM-04) have been used to carry out the study. Meditech is an expert manufacturer of Holter blood pressure monitors and ECG devices from the EU and comitted to lower the risks of cardiovascular diseases worldwide.
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There is a strong evidence that work stress – high job demands and low job control – is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure.
A recent study by Mc Carthy, Perry and Greiner published in the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, investigated the association of different components – such as using or developing skills and autonomy or authority over work - of job control in a middle aged Irish primary care sample using clinic and ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.
a) examine the blood pressure levels of the participants (both workers and non-workers)
b) explore the relationship between job control dimensions and blood pressure
c) investigate night-time systolic blood pressure dipping among workers
Number of participants: 2047
Age: 50-69 years
Job control was measured using 2 scales: possibility for development and influence at work.
Data were collected on: sociodemographic factors, medication, clinic and ambulatory blood pressure.
Night-time (nocturnal) systolic blood pressure was the reduction in systolic blood pressure from day- to night-time using ambulatory blood pressure readings.
The risk of high blood pressure increases as you age. Older workers with high job control are at more risk of cardiovascular disease resulting from high day- and night-time blood pressure with no evidence of night-time dipping, that is: reduction in blood pressure from day to night-time, a strong predictor of cardiovascular mortality.
Meditech is committed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by manufacturing reliable and accurate ambulatory blood pressure monitors and Holter ECG devices.