Thanks for your question.
Alcohol can definitely affect blood pressure, as well as the risk for heart disease and stroke. It all depends on quantity. Excessive alcohol intake can increase blood pressure, as well as increase risk for heart and vascular disease, and stroke. By excessive, we mean more than two drinks a day for males less than 65 years old, one drink a day for males over 65, and one drink a day for all females. One drink equals twelve ounces of beer, or five ounces of wine, or one and a half ounces of 80 proof alcohol.
Moderate alcohol intake has been shown to be beneficial for the risk of heart and vascular disease, especially red wine, as long as the quantity is less than the limits outlined above. Studies concerning moderate alcohol intake and high blood pressure vary. Some conclude that moderate alcohol intake can be beneficial for blood pressure, while others are neutral in their opinion.
Alcohol dilates blood vessels which lowers blood pressure on a short term basis. However, there are long term effects on the blood vessels and various hormones that can be detrimental to blood pressure.
So, for now, consuming one glass of wine, especially red wine, is considered good medicine for your heart and blood vessels. It may also be beneficial for your blood pressure. Again, the key is moderation.
I hope this has been helpful. Best wishes.
Martin Cane, M.D.