Binge drinking in early adulthood is associated with an increased likelihood of high blood pressure in males, while low to moderate alcohol use in early adulthood is associated with a decreased likelihood of hypertension in females. The findings come from a study that will be presented at ASN Kidney Week 2014 November 11­–16 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

While studies have found that drinking alcohol can raise blood pressure in adults, little is known about the links between alcohol use during adolescence and hypertension. Researchers led by Sarah Twichell, MD, from Boston Children’s Hospital, analyzed data from the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS), a study of children who were 8 to 14 years old in 1996 and were followed with detailed surveys every 1 to 2 years. The team examined information on 8,605 participants who completed the 2010 survey.

Among the major findings:

  • In young adult men, frequent binge drinking over the past year was associated with a 1.7-times increased likelihood of developing hypertension.
  • In young adolescent males, there was no significant association between binge drinking or quantity of alcohol use and hypertension after they entered adulthood.
  • In young women, binge drinking was not associated with hypertension.
  • Light and moderate alcohol use in young adult women was associated with a significantly reduced likelihood of hypertension.

“Further study of alcohol use in young adulthood may provide insights into the early development of hypertension,” said Twichell.

Study: “Adolescent Alcohol Use and the Development of Hypertension in Early Adulthood” (Abstract SA-PO156)