Japanese men consume more alcoholic beverages than men in many other developed countries. The high consumption rate of alcoholic beverages among Japanese men may contribute to the high prevalence of hypertension in Japan. In the present study, we calculated the odds ratio for hypertension in alcohol drinkers based on recent criteria using data from a nationwide survey conducted in Japan in 1990, and estimated, among total hypertensives in a general Japanese population, the percentage of hypertensives whose condition was due to alcohol consumption. Of 3,454 male participants, 64.8% were drinkers (1 gou/day, 28.9%; 2 gou/day, 20.1%; 3 gou/day or more, 8.7%; ex-drinkers, 7.0%) and 49.8% were hypertensive, whereas 7.6% of 4,808 female participants were drinkers (1 gou/day, 5.2%; 2 gou/day or more, 1.3%; ex-drinkers, 1.1%) and 43.1% were hypertensive (1 gou=23.0 g of alcohol). In both sexes, drinkers had a higher odds ratio for hypertension than never drinkers, and there was a significant dose-response relationship between the amount of alcohol consumed and the odds ratio for hypertension. Among all hypertensives, the percentage whose hypertension was due to alcohol consumption was 34.5% (95% confidence interval, 10.9%,51.9%) for men and 2.6% (0.8%,5.8%) for women. The corresponding proportion based on daily alcohol intake was 12.7% for 1 gou/day, 11.1 % for 2 gou/day, 5.8% for 3 gou/day or more, and 4.8% for ex-drinkers in men, and 1.8% for 1 gou/ day, 0.7% for 2 gou/day or more, and -0.1% for ex-drinkers in women. In conclusion, we found that a large percentage of the hypertensives in a general Japanese male population had alcohol-induced hypertension.
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