Thursday, April 16, 2015

Drinking Habit Might Raise Stroke Risk!

Drinking a little red wine a day might help one prevent heart disease. As suggested by the American Heart Association (AHA), men should limit their alcohol consumption to 2 drinks (8 ounces) a day and women to only 1 drink (4 ounces). 

How about having more than 2 drinks a day? According to a study published online January 29, 2015 in journal ‘Stroke’, people in their 50s and 60s who had more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily have a 34 percent higher risk of stroke, comparing to lighter drinkers. Meanwhile, they are more likely to suffer a stroke 5 years earlier in life regardless of their genetics or their other health habits.

Past research has already shown that alcohol might cause stroke risk. This study, however, was the first to pinpoint differences with age.

11,644 Swedish twins, who aged below 60, as part of the Swedish Twin Registry, were included in the study. They answered questionnaires for several years and were followed through for a period of 43 years until 2010. The participants were categorized as light, moderate, heavy or non-drinkers based on the questionnaires. The risk from alcohol was compared with health risks such as high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking. Almost 30 percent of the participants suffered a stroke.

Among identical twins, siblings who had a stroke drank more than their siblings who had not had a stroke. This would suggest that mid-life drinking raises stroke risks regardless of genetics and early lifestyle. The stroke risk caused by alcoholic drinks was more than even traditional health dangers like high blood pressure and diabetes, which became more important only around the age of 75.

The stroke risk has been raised among younger patients who have been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. The new findings might just give the doctors another potential risk factor to monitor.

Many Americans with a European heritage usually have their dinner with some wine every night. It is not unusual for them to consume more than 2 drinks. While a glass of red wine is good, it does not mean that more is even better. Such misconception should be highlighted and people should be made aware of the upper limit of alcohol.

In the United Kingdom, the safe guidelines for alcohol drinking: no more than 3 to 4 units of alcohol a day for men, and not more than 2 to 3 units for women. Each drink or unit is normally defined as containing 8 grams of alcohol, equivalent to about one small (125ml) glass of wine, just over half a pint of beer, and less than 1 shot of spirits such as whisky or vodka. A medium (175ml) glass of wine contains around 2 units and a large (250ml) glass contains 3 units. Red wines generally have higher alcohol content.

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