Background Both a large habitual alcohol intake and a pattern of circadian blood pressure (BP) variation characterized by a high morning/daytime BP have been reported to be risk factors for cerebral hemorrhage. Therefore, the association between these two factors was examined.MethodsA total of 194 men in the general population of Ohasama underwent ambulatory BP measurement, completed a lifestyle questionnaire, and were classified into three categories according to current alcohol consumption: nondrinkers, light drinkers, and heavy drinkers. Two-hour moving averages of BP (2h-BP) were used to compare BP variation during a 24-h period among the drinking categories. 2h-BP Dif (defined as 2h-BP 2 h after waking minus 2h-BP 2 h before waking) and the percentage decline in nocturnal BP were also assessed as indicators of circadian BP variation. Multivariate analysis was conducted after adjustment for possible confounding factors including daily salt intake.ResultsAnalysis of 2h-BP revealed that BP variation in drinkers had specific characteristics: a rapid BP increase before waking and higher morning BP levels (P = 0.0001). 2h-BP Dif was significantly higher in heavy drinkers than in nondrinkers (P = 0.04), while there was no significant association between drinking status and the magnitude of the nocturnal BP decline.ConclusionHabitual alcohol intake was associated with a higher 2h-BP Dif.