Smoking and Drinking Alcohol Increases Chance of Stroke

A new study has founds that smoking cigarettes may counteract any beneficial effects of moderate alcohol consumption on stroke. Researchers followed the drinking and smoking habits of 22,524 people in the United Kingdom between ages 39 and 70 with no history of heart attack or stroke at the beginning of the study. During the twelve-year study, 864 strokes occurred.

Presented at that American Academy of Neurology’s 62nd annual meeting in Toronto, the study found that the association between drinking alcohol and stroke was significantly different between non-smokers and smokers. Those who didn’t smoke but consumed moderate amounts of alcohol were 37 percent less likely to have a stroke than non-drinkers, but this association was not observed in smokers. Moderate drinking was drinking up to 21 units of alcohol per week, or about two to three glasses of wine per day.

Yangmei Li, MPhil, with the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, said the findings provide a better understanding of the dangers of smoking and drinking on stroke risk. Li said that while heavy drinking is considered to increase the risk of stroke, the relationship between light and moderate drinking and stroke has varied in studies over the years. The interaction between smoking and drinking on stroke risk could explain these conflicting results.

This underscores the evidence that smoking not only increases stroke risk on its own but may also adversely affect how other lifestyle factors may relate to stroke risk.

Source: Science Daily, Smoking May Counteract Benefit of Moderate Drinking on Stroke Risk, April 13, 2010. 

Posted on April 12th, 2010

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