People who turn red or suffer from facial blotches when drinking are likely to suffer from a serious disorder.
Research in South Korea has discovered that people who become flush in the face after consuming a few units of alcohol show they are at risk of alcohol related hypertension.
This is otherwise known as alcohol related-high blood pressure and can be a major cause of heart attacks, strokes and can put a major strain on blood vessels.
This is all due to something called acetaldehyde, a toxic produced by alcohol, which the liver breaks down.
However, those that have flush reactions to alcohol, means that their body is breaking down the compound much more slowly, causing it to stay in their system for longer and possibly causing greater harm.
Dr Jong Sung Kim of the Chungnam National University School of Medicine told the Daily Mail:
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.
To my knowledge, there has been no detailed research that has analysed the relationship between drinking and hypertension while considering individual responses to alcohol.
The team who conducted the study looked at the medical records of 1,763 Korean men with a variety of alcohol related history.
Of that number 527 suffered from flushes, 948 didn't suffer from flushes and 288 were non-drinkers.
They found that flushers were more prone to the problem when they consumed more than four alcoholic drinks a week.
After adjusting for age, body mass index, exercise status, and smoking status, the risk of hypertension was significantly increased when flushers consumed more than four drinks per week.
‘In contrast, in non-flushers, the risk increased with consuming more than eight drinks per week.’
Kyung Hwan Cho, President of the Korea Academy of Family Medicine added:
Facial flushing after alcohol drinking differs across gender, age, and ethnic groups.
In general, it is more common in women, the elderly, and East Asians versus Westerners.
Although there isn't a known reason why those who turn red have a greater risk of high blood pressure, the safest solution is to simply cut down on alcohol.
Dr Kim concluded.
Our research findings suggest that clinicians and researchers should, respectively, consider evaluating their patients' flushing response to alcohol as well as drinking amount in a daily routine care, and researching hazard by drinking.