Stroke warning: The drink shown to more than double the risk of stroke in 1 hour

A stroke is a serious and life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted. Bad lifestyle decisions can trigger a stroke, and a study published in the Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association shows how quickly these negative effects can manifest.

The risk of stroke appears to double within an hour of consuming a single drink, whether it’s wine, beer or hard liquor.

“The impact of alcohol on your risk of ischemic stroke appears to depend on how much and how often you drink alcohol,” said Murray A. Mittleman, MD, Dr.PH, lead author of the Stroke Onset Study (SOS) and director of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass.

Prior to SOS, researchers were uncertain whether alcohol consumption had an immediate impact on ischemic stroke (caused by a blood clot in a vessel in or leading to the brain), although moderate alcohol consumption ( less than two drinks a day) may potentially lower long-term risk.

The researchers interviewed 390 ischemic stroke patients (209 men, 181 women) about three days after their stroke about many aspects of their lives.

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The trends remained the same whether participants consumed wine, beer or distilled spirits. When the researchers eliminated patients who had been exposed to other potential triggers (such as vigorous exercise or drinking a caffeinated beverage) just before their stroke, the link to alcohol did not appear. exchange.

Only one participant had consumed more than two drinks in the hour before the stroke, and removing this data did not change the pattern.

“The evidence on excessive alcohol consumption is consistent: in the long and short term, it increases the risk of stroke,” Mittleman said.

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“But we find that it is more complicated with light to moderate drinking. It is possible that the transient increase in stroke risk due to moderate alcohol consumption is outweighed by the longer-term health benefits. .”

Immediately after drinking, blood pressure increases and blood platelets become stickier, which can increase the risk of a clot forming.

However, regular consumption of small amounts of alcohol is associated with beneficial changes in blood lipids and more flexible blood vessels, which may reduce overall risk.

“At this point, we don’t have enough evidence to say that people who don’t drink should start, or that people who drink small amounts – around one drink a day – should stop,” Mr. Mittleman said.

A more conclusive answer would require a controlled study in which some people are randomly selected to drink alcohol while others do not, he said.

It is important to note that the results may not apply to patients with severe stroke.

Immutable Risk Factors

It is not possible to completely prevent strokes because some things that increase your risk of getting the disease cannot be changed.

According to the NHS, these include:

  • Age – you are more likely to have a stroke if you are over 55, although around one in four strokes occur in younger people
  • Family history – if a close relative (parent, grandparent, sibling) has had a stroke, your risk is likely higher
  • Ethnicity – if you are South Asian, African or Caribbean, your risk of stroke is higher, in part because rates of diabetes and high blood pressure are higher in these groups
  • Your medical history – if you have ever had a stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA) or heart attack, your risk of stroke is higher.

Stroke warning: The drink shown to more than double the risk of stroke in 1 hour

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