The Alcohol Blood Pressure Paradox

Franz H. Messerli, MD; Alexandra Neagoe; Adrian W. Messerli, MD


Eur Heart J. 2019;40(9):711-712. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


French army reservists, The Ten Commandments, the ESC/ESH Guidelines and moderating moderation

More than a century ago, in 1915, Lian studied the relationship between alcoholism and hypertension in 150 reservists of the French army aged 42–43 years.[1] He subdivided them according to their alcohol consumption into 'sobres' (when consuming less than 1 L wine/day), 'moyens buveurs' (1–1.5 L wine/day), 'grands buveurs' (2–2.5 L wine/day + 1–2 drinks), and 'très grands buveurs' (more than 3 L wine/day + 4–6 drinks).

He observed a rather linear relationship (Figure 1) between alcohol consumption and hypertension, at that time defined as a blood pressure (BP) >150/100 mmHg. Lian reasoned that the differences in the number of hypertensives in the four categories were too big not to conclude that alcoholism was an important factor in the aetiology of arterial hypertension.

Figure 1.

Alcohol consumption and HTN in French army reservists 1915.