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Lifestyle and high blood pressure: The practical stuff
Q. Am I going to have to give up drinking alcohol because I have high blood pressure?
A. No, you don't have to give up drinking just because you have high blood pressure.
However, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol does raise your blood pressure. Not only will a regular high intake of alcohol increase your blood pressure, but one-off binges can also be harmful. Binge drinking is defined as drinking more than six units in the space of six hours, which can be easy to do.
If you are taking medicines for high blood pressure, drinking sensibly should not interfere with them. However, if your medicine makes you feel drowsy or lethargic, alcohol may add to this effect and may be worth avoiding.
So, what are the sensible limits for drinking alcohol?
For men and women:
no more than 2-3 units a day
no more than 14 units a week
For an explanation of units of alcohol, please see the What is a unit of alcohol? page.
For more about how alcohol affects your blood pressure, please see the Making lifestyle changes page.