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Excessive Alcohol Can Put You At Risk Of A Stroke | Stroke Foundation

Excessive Alcohol Can Put You At Risk Of A Stroke

Too Much Alcohol May Cause Stroke

Too Much Alcohol May Cause Stroke

To mark World Stroke Day (29th October 2012) we are raising the awareness of how important a healthy lifestyle is in combating stroke and other health conditions.

Having the odd bottle of wine or gin and tonic may be a good way to enjoy the evening. But doing this regularly may put you at a higher risk of having health issues in the long-term. While it’s true that a glass of wine has been shown to lower heart attacks and stroke risk for some people, the current research indicates that people shouldn’t be in a hurry to start drinking.

A number of strokes, like hemorrhagic stroke, happen when a blood vessel bursts, releasing blood which is released around the brain, resulting in pressure on the brain. There are two kinds of hemorrhagic strokes: first is the subarachnoid hemorrhage, which is a stroke that occurs between the brain and surrounding tissues, and the intra-cerebral hemorrhage, that occurs when an artery within the brain bursts.

Alcohol effects may either lessen or increase stroke risk factors. If a person regularly has a few extra drinks at the end of each day, the risks may be serious.

Strokes have always been linked to heavy drinking in the past, but studies have not made specific differences that support the theory between patients who suffer bleeding in the brain and stroke occurrences. A new study shows that three or more alcoholic drinks a day can give you a higher risk of intra-cerebral hemorrhage at an earlier age.

The study was carried out with 540 participants who had an intra-cerebral hemorrhage.  These participants were questioned about their drinking habits. The family members and carers of these participants were also interviewed about the participants drinking habits. The researchers, monitored the participants for two years. About 25% were categorized as heavy drinkers who had been consuming three or more alcoholic beverages a day or 1.6 ounces of pure alcohol. The participants went through CT brain scans and their medical records were checked. What was more astonishing to researchers was that these heavy drinkers had their strokes at an average age of 60. The non drinkers had their strokes 14 years later, at an average age of 74. Both groups had similar lengths of hospital stays and a similar number of complications from their strokes. Still, heavy drinkers were also more likely to die during the two year follow up period than the non heavy drinkers.

The same risks are present in ischemic strokes where blood clots occur. Analysis carried out by the American Heart Association revealed that nearly 800,000 Americans have a stroke each year. In 2008, about one in eighteen deaths were attributed to strokes; the most common, which accounts for 85% of stroke incidents, is an ischemic stroke.

Heavy drinking has always been identified as a risk factor for a stroke. That is why it’s important to keep in mind that drinking large amounts of alcohol can contribute to a stroke at a younger age, in people who had no significant medical history in the past. There are always serious health risks associated with frequent alcoholic drinks, which includes an increased risk of some types of cancer and liver disease.

The current advice from the research is if you don’t drink, don’t start because you think it will protect your heart; and if you do drink, keep it moderate.