You know that guy who gets flush in the face when drinking alcohol? Well, new research suggests that could be a warning sign of future health problems

Researchers from South Korea found that among people who have four or more drinks per week, men who became flush were more than twice as likely to develop high blood pressure later in life than guys who don’t get red in the face, according to an article in Men’s Health.

Higher blood pressure means those men are at greater risk for heart disease, stroke and other hypertension-related health issues, according to the article.

This is how and why it happens, according to the article:

“When an alcohol metabolite called acetaldehyde builds up in your system, it causes your blood vessels to constrict, which weakens blood flow and makes you look like a guy who’s thrown one too many plates on his barbell. Normally, your body can break down the metabolite.”

Face-flushing can also be caused by an alcohol allergy, according to the article.

But if the red face is accompanied by nausea and heart palpitations, it’s likely an acetaldehyde issue and deserves a doctor’s attention, according to researchers.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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