Sensitivity of circulatory response to alcohol influences the relationship between alcohol consumption and blood pressure in Orientals.Blood Press. 2005; 14(4):238-44.BP
There is a genetic difference in sensitivity to alcohol in Orientals, which is known to be mainly due to polymorphisms of alcohol-metabolizing enzymes such as aldehyde dehydrogenase. Habitual alcohol drinking is a risk factor for hypertension. However, it has not been determined whether individual sensitivity to alcohol influences the relationship between alcohol consumption and blood pressure. In this study, the relationship between amount of alcohol consumption and blood pressure was compared between groups of subjects with low and high sensitivities of circulatory response to alcohol. Sensitivity to alcohol in subjects (306 male workers) was evaluated by a self-administered questionnaire on symptoms (skin flushing and palpitation) that appear when drinking alcohol. Weight, height and blood pressure were measured. In subjects with high sensitivity to alcohol, systolic blood pressure was significantly higher in the subgroup of moderate-to-heavy drinkers (30 g/day or more) than in the subgroups of non-drinkers and light drinkers (less than 30 g/day). On the other hand, in subjects with low sensitivity to alcohol, systolic blood pressure in the subgroup of non-drinkers was not significantly different from that in the subgroups of light drinkers and moderate-to-heavy drinkers. The amount of daily alcohol consumption was significantly correlated with both systolic and diastolic blood pressures in subjects with high sensitivity to alcohol but not in subjects with low sensitivity to alcohol. Pressor effects of alcohol drinking on blood pressure were significant only in subjects with high sensitivity to alcohol, suggesting that there is a greater risk of development of hypertension from drinking large amounts of alcohol in people with high sensitivity to alcohol.