Heavy drinking in midlife raises stroke risk significantly
For middle-aged adults, drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a day may increase their risk of stroke by more than 33 percent, according to research published in Stroke.
Scientists from St. Annes University Hospital in the Czech Republic conducted a study on twins to measure the effect of alcohol on stroke risk. The team monitored 11,644 sets of same-sex twins beginning between 1967 and 1970, starting with questionnaires that assessed their dietary habits. Researchers then monitored the twins for 43 years collecting health data from hospital visits, causes of death, blood pressure smoking and other factors.
By the end of the study, the twins who drank heavily were found to be 34 percent more likely to have a stroke than those who drank lightly. Almost 30 percent of all the participants had a stroke within the study period, The study suggests that age is a factor for risk, since those who drank heavily between ages 50 and 60 were more likely to suffer a stroke five years earlier than others, and twins who suffered a stroke drank more than their siblings who did not have a stroke.
Additionally, the researchers found that alcohol has a greater effect on stroke risk during middle age than blood pressure and diabetes do. Those conditions play a larger role after age 75.
Every year about 795,000 people in the U.S. suffer a stroke.