In small amounts, alcohol can help lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). But that protective effect is lost if you drink too much alcohol, generally more than one drink a day for women and more than two a day for men. Binge drinking in particular can cause large and sudden increases in blood pressure and increase your risk of stroke. If you're a heavy or binge drinker, talk to your doctor about how to reduce your drinking.

Aug. 14, 2012