Imagine you’re about to head out for a night on the town with your friends. You get ready, do your hair and make-up and habitually, have a few drinks. However, your few cursory drinks render you drunk before reaching your first destination.
This behaviour, commonly known as “binge drinking”, is no joke. Unfortunately it’s very common among young adults aged 20-to-24, and carries side-effects that are not only harmful to your heart, liver, brain and other organs, but to your blood pressure as well.
A recent study from the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (UMHRC), Canada has identified a link with young adults who binge drink and systolic blood pressure (SBP). The study found young adults who regularly binge drink have higher blood pressure which may heighten their risk of developing hypertension, and ultimately compromise heart health.
The UMHRC research reveals binge drinking is most common among 20-to-24 year olds who binge drink, on average, four times a month, during which they consume nine alcoholic beverages at each session.
Jennifer O’Loughlin, UMHRC researcher and senior study author said, “We found that the blood pressure of young adults aged 20-to-24 who binge drink was 2-to-4 millimetres of mercury higher than non-binge drinkers.”
The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, first examined 756 young adults aged 20, and then the same individuals four years later. The findings revealed 1-in-4 young adults who were binge drinkers exhibited signs of pre-hypertension, which can then progress to hypertension, heart disease and premature death.
According to a media release highlighting the study findings, issued by O’Loughlin, 85 per cent of young adults who drink heavily at 20 years of age, continue this behaviour four years later, at 24 years of age.
The ongoing study will test the same participants at 30 years of age to determine whether their drinking habits have increased or subsided, and whether their blood pressure becomes elevated.
The researchers aim to determine whether the slowing of binge drinking with age reduces the risk of hypertension, or if binge drinking as a young adult causes permanent damage to the body.
If you, or a loved one is battling a dependence on alcohol, contact DARA Thailand on +66 87 140 7788 or email [email protected] for information and support.