Any one person in a group will have a different reaction to alcohol. If you head out to a bar on a Friday night with a few friends, there will be those who cannot handle their drink whatsoever, and those that will knock back pints like it’s nobody’s business.
And once everyone is getting to a state of drunkenness, they exhibit different behaviors – the volume of their voice could go up, they could give a little too much information about their sex life, or they could burst into tears. The same goes for how our body deals with the introduction of alcohol to the system.
Some can suffer from facial blotches when they drink, or just turn a bit red in the face. Apparently, those who have this reaction may actually have a serious disorder, according to a recent study in South Korea.
Researchers discovered that when these flushes occur, after a few units of alcohol, it is actually a possible indication that you are at risk of alcohol-related hypertension. The high blood pressure connected to this disorder can cause heart attacks, strokes, and otherwise put a major strain on blood vessels.
Acetaldehyde is produced by alcohol, but our bodies know how to deal with the toxic substance – breaking it down in the liver. However, if you have these reactions, it means your body is breaking it down slower than most, leaving it to stay in your system and cause greater harm.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Dr Jong Sung Kim of Chungnam National University School of Medicine explained:
“Facial flushing after drinking is always considered as a symptom of high alcohol sensitivity or even intolerance to alcohol, unless a patient is taking special medicine. The facial flushing response to drinking usually occurs in a person who cannot genetically break down acetaldehyde.”
Looking at the medical records of 1,763 Korean men with a variety of histories with alcohol, the study revealed that 527 suffered from flushes and 948 didn’t – while 288 of them were non-drinkers. Those who suffered from flushes were more prone to hypertension when they consumed more than four alcoholic drinks each week, while “non-flushers” found the risk increase when they consumed more than eight drinks.
“Our research findings suggest that clinicians and researchers should, respectively, consider evaluating their patients’ flushing response to alcohol,” Kim concluded, “as well as drinking amount in a daily routine care, and researching hazard by drinking.”
According to Kyung Hwan Cho, the President of the Korea Academy of Family Medicine, facial flushing greatly differs across different age, gender and ethnic groups, with those who are most likely to suffer from it being the elderly, women, and East Asians.
There isn’t a known reason why those who turn red or suffer from facial blotches have a greater risk of high blood pressure, but this link just goes to show that there are plenty of reasons to cut down on the amount of alcohol you consume, apart from its effect on your wallet.