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If you drink too much alcohol, this will raise your blood pressure over time. In addition, alcohol contains a lot of calories which can make you gain weight and as a result increase your blood pressure.
If you keep to the recommended limits for alcohol, this will help to keep your blood pressure down. The current UK guidelines are that all adults, men and women, consume no more than 14 units of alcohol a week.
Keeping within these guidelines will help you control your blood pressure.
One unit of alcohol is the equivalent of 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol. But because alcoholic drinks have different strengths and come in different sizes, knowing what counts as a unit is not always easy - it’s often a lot less than you think.
The alcohol content of wine ranges from 11%-14% which means a single 175ml glass can contain between 1.9 and 2.4 units and a 250ml glass can contain between 2.8 and 3.5 units.
What does 14 units look like?
- 6 175ml glasses of wine (13%)
- 6 pints of normal-strength beer or ale (4%)
- 5 pints of cider (4.5%)
- 14 single 25ml measures of spirits (40%)
Remember if your drinks are stronger than this (have a higher percentage of alcohol) then 14 units will be less.
You should aim to spread your drinking over a few days and avoid binge drinking which is classed as drinking more than six units in six hours – that’s less than three 175ml glasses of wine or three pints of beer in an evening.
Drinking less alcohol
Even if you are drinking less than the recommended limits, you will still benefit from drinking less alcohol. Here are some tips to help you have a good night out (or in) without having to worry about your blood pressure.
- Try low-alcohol options – there are now a number of lower-strength beers on the market
- Check the label – many drinks' labels now tell you how many units they contain
- Make your drinks last longer by adding mixers or water
- Don’t eat bar snacks like crisps and peanuts – the added salt will make you want to drink more, and will raise your blood pressure
- If you drink at home, buy a measure so that you know how much you are drinking.
For more information about alcohol and safe drinking advice please visit: what is alcohol?