Yes, drinking alcohol thins your blood. Alcohol interferes with the clotting process in two ways,
- reducing the number of platelets in your blood
- making existing platelets less “sticky”
These changes in the blood aren’t dangerous for most people, but those on anticoagulant medications (blood thinners) should limit their alcohol intake to one standard drink per day.
The combined effects of blood thinner medications and alcohol are dangerous because they can cause excessive bruising and bleeding. Internal bleeding is the most dangerous because it is more difficult to detect. Thin blood also makes it harder to heal from everyday injuries.
Can you drink alcohol while you are on blood thinners?
You should limit your alcohol intake if you are taking blood thinners. One drink on occasion is not likely to cause problems, but moderate to heavy drinking with anticoagulant medications is dangerous. It increases the risk of bleeding-type strokes as well as blood loss from what would otherwise be a small injury.
This goes for all anticoagulant medications, including:
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
- Apixaban (Eliquis)
- Dabigatran (Pradaxa)
- Rivaroxaban (Xarelto)
- Enoxaparin (Lovenox)
Does alcohol increase heart rate?
Yes, alcohol increases heart rate as well as raise blood pressure during the initial stages of intoxication. As a result, heavy drinking increases the risk of experience cardiovascular-related diseases such as heart attack and stroke.
What is the effect of alcohol on blood pressure?
Alcohol causes a temporary increase in blood pressure. This is not harmful to people with healthy blood pressure. However, those already dealing with blood-pressure-related illnesses and heart conditions should only drink in moderation.
If you have high blood pressure, drinking many days in a row or drinking a lot in one setting are both very dangerous and can even be deadly. Elevated blood pressure places extra stress on the heart and increases the chances of heart attack, stroke and heart failure.
Luckily, alcoholics who quit drinking see a reduction in blood pressure. Often those who come to treatment with high blood pressure return to normal levels within a month of not drinking.
Does alcohol raise blood pressure?
Yes, alcohol raises blood pressure. Usually, this after three or more drinks are consumed in a single sitting. For healthy individuals, this rise in blood pressure is temporary. However, frequent binges can change blood pressure long term.
Can alcohol lower blood pressure?
Technically, yes—drinking no more than two drinks for men or a single drink are consumed in a given day can temporarily lower blood pressure.
However, that does not mean that drinking is healthy, nor should you use alcohol to manage your blood pressure. There are safer and more reliable ways to manage high blood pressure than regular drinking.
(See the is alcohol a stimulant or depressant article to understand how alcohol simulates, then slows down the body).
Is alcohol good for blood pressure in small amounts?
Light drinking (one or two drinks) can lower your blood pressure, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Alcohol doesn’t lower your blood pressure by a significant amount. Many of the studies that make this claim do not consider other lifestyle choices, like diet and exercise, which have a much bigger impact on blood pressure.
Not only that, some people experience an increase even after one or two drinks because their body processes alcohol differently. There are too many variables to make a blanket statement that alcohol is good for your blood pressure.
Bottom line: If you have hypertension, the best way to manage your condition is with diet, exercise and medication.
Can I drink alcohol if I have high blood pressure?
If you have high blood pressure, you should do your best to avoid alcohol. If you are going to drink, do not exceed one or two drinks. Drink only on occasion and never exceed two drinks per day.
If you’re having trouble cutting back, there is help available. The sooner you address the problem, the better. (See the alcohol abuse vs alcoholism article).
JourneyPure.com doctors follow rigorous sourcing guidelines and cite only trustworthy sources of information, including peer-reviewed journals, count records, academic organizations, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports and their own expertise with decades in the fields and their own personal recovery.
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Dimmitt, S. B., Rakic, V., Puddey, I. B., Baker, R., Oostryck, R., Adams, M. J., Chesterman, C. N., Burke, V., & Beilin, L. J. (1998). The effects of alcohol on coagulation and fibrinolytic factors: a controlled trial. Blood coagulation & fibrinolysis : an international journal in haemostasis and thrombosis, 9(1), 39–45. https://doi.org/10.1097/00001721-199801000-00005
Mukamal, K.J., Massaro, J.M., Ault, K.A., Mittleman, M.A., Sutherland, P.A., Lipinska, I., Levy, D., D’Agostino, R.B. and Tofler, G.H. (2005), Alcohol Consumption and Platelet Activation and Aggregation Among Women and Men: The Framingham Offspring Study. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 29: 1906-1912. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.alc.0000183011.86768.61
Roth, JA, Bradley, K, Thummel, KE, Veenstra, DL, and Boudreau, D (2015), Alcohol misuse, genetics, and major bleeding among warfarin therapy patients in a community setting. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf, 24, 619– 627. doi: 10.1002/pds.3769.
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