Sunday, July 18, 2010

Just one Drink Boosts Stroke Risk Within the First Hour

Just one drink at happy hour can increase the chances of having a stroke according to findings from a small study. Researchers interviewed patients who suffered from stroke finding the risk of stroke within the first hour of consuming alcohol increases by 2.3. percent.

The findings aren't entirely clear though. Scientists know that heavy alcohol consumption increases the chances of having a stroke, but light to moderate drinking has been associated with lower chances cardiovascular problems that can cause blood clots and ischemic stroke.

Among 390 patients interviewed for the study, 14 reported drinking alcohol within the hour of onset stroke symptoms, equating to double the risk compared to stroke victims who did not consume any form of alcoholic beverage.

Murray A. Mittleman, M.D., Dr.P.H., senior author of the Stroke Onset Study (SOS) and director of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass. says, "The impact of alcohol on your risk of ischemic stroke appears to depend on how much and how often you drink".

Dr. Mittleman adds,"The evidence on heavy drinking is consistent: Both in the long and short term it raises stroke risk. But we're finding it's more complicated with light to moderate drinking. It is possible that the transiently increased stroke risk from moderate alcohol consumption may be outweighed by the longer term health benefits."

The reason ischemic stroke can occur within one hour after consuming just one drink is because blood pressure elevates and blood becomes more prone to clot. Ischemic stroke differs from hemorrhagic stroke and occurs when a blood clot interferes with blood flow to the brain.
After an hour of consuming alcohol the chances of having a stroke declines, but more than doubles within the first hour. The findings also revealed that stroke risk after having even one drink - whether beer, wine or hard liquor - increases by 2.3 percent.
doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.580092