Middle Aged Heavy Drinking Linked To Strokes
The study states that more than two drinks a day in middle-age may raise your stroke risk more than traditional factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Regular heavy drinking of any kind of alcohol can raise blood pressure and cause heart failure or irregular heartbeats over time with repeated drinking, in addition to stroke and other risks.
For the study, a total of 11,644 Swedish twins, who were under the age of 60 at the start of the study, responded to questionnaires. While some studies have investigated the relationship between stroke and heavy drinking, rarely have they covered differences in age. The researchers then compared the effects of an average of more than two drinks daily (heavy drinking) to less than half a drink daily (light drinking).
They found that heavy drinkers had about a 34% higher risk of stroke compared to light drinkers. They also found that mid-life heavy drinkers (in their 50s and 60s) were likely to have a stroke five years earlier in life irrespective of genetic and early-life factors.
The researchers discovered that heavy drinkers had increased stroke risk in their mid-life compared to well-known risk factors like high blood pressure and diabetes. At around age 75, blood pressure and diabetes appeared to take over as one of the main influences on having a stroke, the authors noted.
Pavla Kadlecova, a statistician at St. Anne’s University Hospital’s International Clinical Research Center in the Czech Republic, and the lead author of the study, said, “We now have a clearer picture about these risk factors, how they change with age and how the influence of drinking alcohol shifts as we get older. For mid-aged adults, avoiding more than two drinks a day could be a way to prevent stroke in later productive age (about 60s).”
The research appeared in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.
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