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Drinking alcohol frequently increases stroke risk

Thursday, 20 March 2014 - 12:20pm IST | Agency: IANS

Consuming alcohol more frequently than twice a week may increase the risk of stroke mortality in men, an alarming study has indicated.

The effects of alcohol are not limited to the amount consumed but also the frequency of drinking matters, the researchers at University of Eastern Finland said.

The study showed that people who consume alcohol more frequently than twice a week have over a threefold risk of stroke mortality than people who do not consume alcohol at all.

The study is based on follow-up data from the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD).

At the onset of the study, the men participating in the study were middle-aged, and the follow-up time was 20 years.

A total of 2,609 men participated in the study.

The consumption of alcohol was measured with the help of a Nordic alcohol survey charting the amount of alcohol consumed at one time and the average number of drinking occasions in the preceding 12 months.

"The relationship between alcohol consumption and ischaemic stroke shows a J curve pattern, which means that in people who are moderate consumers of alcohol, the risk of stroke is the lowest, while heavy consumption of alcohol increases the risk of stroke," the researchers explained.

The risk of cerebral haemorrhage increases linearly as the consumption of alcohol increases: the higher the amount of alcohol consumed, the higher the risk of stroke.

In addition to alcohol, other significant risk factors for stroke include elevated blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, smoking, overweight, asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis and elevated cholesterol levels.

The results were published in the journal Acta Neurologica Scandinavica.




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