Alcohol and its Link to Strokes

strokecoverAs if more reasons were needed to not drink alcohol, scientists who have been researching strokes for many years have recently found a connection between the likelihood of a stroke and a person’s alcohol consumption. These researchers have published a paper stating that people who drink more than two drinks a day during their middle ages are more likely to experience a stroke sooner than a person who does not consume that much alcohol, or any at all.

Strokes occur when there is a problem with the blood supply that the brain needs. There are two different ways the blood supply can be affected and result in a stroke. The first is when the blood is blocked from reaching the brain and the other is when a blood vessel within the brain bursts.

“Our study showed that drinking more than two drinks per day can shorten time to stroke by about five years,” explained Pavla Kadlecova, an employee at St. Anne’s University Hospital International Clinical Research Center in the Czech Republic and one of the researchers on the study.

In order to go about investigating a link between alcohol and strokes, researchers reviewed 11,644 sets of twins, all of which were middle aged. The study followed these twins starting in 1967. The participants were asked a series of questions in 1967 and then again in 1970. They continued to monitor the subjects throughout their lives and by 2010 had a plethora of data regarding lifestyle, health problems and in some cases, causes of death. About 30 percent of the subjects had strokes, and the scientists then classified them by their alcohol consumption; light, moderate, heavy or none.

Taking this information, researchers were able to calculate that the risk for a stroke was even greater for those that drank more than moderately and were over the age of 50. The scientists were also able to state that the connection between drinking heavily during the middle of one’s life is more of a factor than genetics when assessing risk for a stroke. For those people who consumed more than average amounts of alcohol during their ‘50s and ‘60s, a stroke could come much earlier than someone who had not participated in the same level of drinking.