Study finds heavy drinking linked to higher stroke risk

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A study found that while light and moderate drinkers appear to be at neither greater risk nor greater advantage than abstainers when it comes to ischemic stroke, the frequency of their alcohol consumption may modestly influence their risk. The findings reinforce the importance of the volume and frequency of alcohol consumption.

“In this study, the participants who were at lowest risk for stroke were the men who consumed one or two drinks on three to four days of the week,” says lead author Kenneth Mukamal, MD, MPH.

The male participants answered questions regarding diet and medical history, including alcohol consumption, and were examined every four years beginning in 1986 and ending in 2000.

The researchers examined average amount of alcohol consumed; drinking patterns; and type of beverage consumed. During the study, they confirmed 412 cases of ischemic stroke among the participants.

Their findings showed that men who drank three or more drinks per day had a higher risk of ischemic stroke than did abstainers.

The findings also found that when drinking frequency was taken into account, the light and moderate drinkers who consumed alcohol three to four days per week had a lower stroke risk than did nondrinkers.