A drink or two a day lowers stroke risk

February 11, 2003 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

A drink or two a day lowers stroke risk

Moderate drinkers who consume one to two alcoholic drinks a day reduce their risk of having a stroke.

However, consuming more than 5 drinks daily has the opposite effect, doubling a person's risk of one type of stroke, according to a new study from Tulane University School of Public Health in New Orleans.

Previous research has suggested moderate alcohol consumption may have protective effects against various types of stroke.

The research team evaluated 35 previously published studies of alcohol consumption and stroke risk. Their analysis found that consuming more than 5 alcoholic beverages per day, compared with abstention from alcohol, was associated with a 64% increase in overall stroke risk.

This level of alcohol consumption boosted the risk of ischemic strokes--the most common type, which occur when a clot or narrowed artery cuts off blood flow in the brain--by 69%.

People who had more than 5 drinks a day more than doubled their risk of the less common type of stroke, which is caused by bleeding in the brain and called a hemorrhagic stroke.

But moderate drinkers (those who had between one and two drinks a day) had a roughly 30% lower risk of stroke than teetotalers. And the risk of stroke for people who had about one drink or less of alcohol a day, but did not abstain entirely, was about 20% lower than the risk for abstainers.

While the findings suggest health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, the researchers caution against using them to make blanket recommendations on drinking and stroke risk.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.