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Objective: To examine the associations between alcohol intake and isolated systolic hypertension (ISH), systolic-diastolic hypertension (SDH), and isolated diastolic hypertension (IDH).

Design: Cross-sectional study of Chinese adults.

Methods: We analyzed data from 5317 Chinese males who were not on antihypertensive medications from a nationally representative sample of Chinese adults aged 35-74 years. ISH was defined as a mean systolic blood pressure (SBP) >=140 mmHg and a mean diastolic blood pressure (DBP) < 90 mmHg, SDH as a SBP >= 140 mmHg and DBP >= 90 mmHg, and IDH as SBP < 140 mmHg and DBP >= 90 mmHg. Alcohol intake was determined using an interviewer-administered questionnaire and participants were categorized either as non-drinkers (<12 drinks in the prior year) or by tertile of alcohol intake.

Results: The odds ratios of all three hypertension subtypes were higher at higher levels of alcohol intake, with those in the highest alcohol intake category (>=30 drinks/week) 2.0 (95% confidence interval: 1.3, 3.0), 2.2 (1.6, 3.1), and 2.1 (1.4, 3.1) times more likely to have ISH, SDH, or IDH, respectively, than non-drinkers. The population attributable risk percentage due to heavy drinking (>=30 drinks/week) was 13.9% for ISH, 13.4% for SDH, and 12.0% for IDH. Liquor drinking, specifically, was associated with a higher odds ratio of ISH, while SDH and IDH associations did not differ by type of alcoholic beverage.

Conclusions: In Chinese males, higher intake of alcohol is associated with higher risk of ISH, SDH, and IDH. Efforts to reduce hypertension in China should include a strong focus on decreasing heavy alcohol consumption.

(C) 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.