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Risk of Stroke Appears to Double After Having One Drink
Regardless of whether you’re drinking wine, hard liquor, or beer, your risk of stroke seems to double during the hour after having just one drink. A new study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke found that the impact of alcohol on a person’s risk of stroke depends on how much and how often that person drinks.
Murray A. Mittleman, M.D., director of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, led the study, in which 390 ischemic stroke patients were interviewed three days after their stroke. Ischemic strokes are caused by a blood clot in a brain vessel in or leading to the brain.
Fourteen patients drank alcohol within an hour of stroke onset. The researchers found that the risk of stroke after alcohol consumption was 2.3 higher in the first hour, 1.6 times higher in the second hour, and 30 percent lower after 24 hours. These patterns were the same for those who drank hard alcohol, beer, or wine. Only one patient had more than two drinks in the hour before the stroke, but removing that data didn’t change the pattern.
Immediately after drinking, the risk of clot formation increases because blood pressure rises and blood platelets become stickier. The researchers noted that their findings might not apply to those with severe stroke.
The American Heart Association recommends that if you drink alcohol, do so in moderation—no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
Source: The American Heart Association, Stroke risk temporarily increases for an hour after drinking alcohol, July 15, 2010