Alcohol and stroke risk
Young adults who are moderate to heavy drinkers are at increased risk of suffering a stroke - and the risk goes up with more years of imbibing, a new study published in Neurology suggests.
Using data from a Korean national health database, the researchers identified roughly 1.5 million adults aged 20-39 years (mean age 29.5 years, 72% male) who had four consecutive annual health examinations during which they were asked about their alcohol use.
During a median follow up of roughly 6 years, a total of 3153 individuals suffered a stroke (1773 ischemic and 1535 hemorrhagic).
After multivariate adjustment accounting for other factors that could affect the risk for stroke, such as hypertension, smoking and body mass index, the risk of stroke increased steadily with the number of years of moderate to heavy drinking, defined as 105 grams or more of alcohol per week.
Compared with light drinkers or teetotalers, stroke risk increased 19% with 2 years of moderate to heavy drinking and 22% and 23%, respectively, for 3 and 4 years of moderate or heaving drinking.
The positive dose-response relationship was chiefly driven by increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke; with 2, 3 and 4 years of moderate to heavy drinking, hemorrhagic stroke risk increased 30%, 42% and 36%, respectively, relative to light/no drinking.
In conclusion, Young adults who usually have a low risk of stroke increase their risk significantly by heavy alcohol drinking.