Subjects whose daily alcohol intake varied from less than 22 g to over 88 g were studied. They differed in their mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures compared with those of controls who were teetotallers. The association between alcohol consumption and blood pressure was independent of age. Ex-alcohol users who were much older than current alcohol users had lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures. The association of body mass index with sustained raised blood pressure was apparent. When body mass index was eliminated as a variable there was an appreciable residual effect on mean arterial pressure. Alcohol users and controls did not differ in mean plasma sodium concentration. Red blood cell intracellular sodium concentration, however, was higher in beer drinkers than in controls. On the other hand, red blood cell intracellular concentration of magnesium in beer drinkers was decreased. It is suggested that definite interactions between sodium, magnesium, and calcium ions may have some vital roles in the sustained rise in blood pressure in alcohol users.
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