Researchers from the University of Lille Nord de France have reported that heavy drinkers are at risk for an early stroke. Their findings appear in the latest issue of the journal, Neurology. According to the study, people who consume three or more alcoholic beverages a day are at risk for having a stroke 14 years before others who don’t drink as heavily.
The scientists do not know the reason why heavy drinking increases the risk for stroke, despite the evidence that the risk is prevalent. Charlotte Cordonnier, MD, PhD states, “Heavy drinking has been consistently identified as a risk factor for this type of stroke, which is caused by bleeding in the brain rather than a blood clot. Our study focuses on the effects of heavy alcohol use on the timeline of stroke and the long-term outcome for those people.”
540 participants were interviewed by the research team. These participants had suffered an intracerebral hemorrhage, which is a type of stroke caused by bleeding in the brain. Their average age was 71. The researchers asked them, relatives, or their caregivers about their drinking habits. The researchers discovered the following:
• Those stroke victims who consumed three or more alcoholic beverages a day had a stroke at the average age of 60.
• Those participants who did not drink as much had their strokes at the average age of 74.
• Among participants under age 60, heavy drinkers had a greater chance of dying within 24 months after their stroke than those who did not drink three or more drinks a day.
• The stroke victims who were heavy drinkers were more likely to be tobacco smokers than their counterparts.