Heavy drinking may lead to stroke earlier in life

September 10, 2012

A new study shows that people who have three or more alcoholic drinks per day may be at higher risk for experiencing a stroke almost a decade and a half earlier in life than those who do not drink heavily. The research is published in the September 11, 2012, print issue of Neurology.

"Heavy drinking has been consistently identified as a risk factor for this type of stroke, which is caused by bleeding in the brain rather than a blood clot," said study author Charlotte Cordonnier, MD, PhD, with the University of Lille Nord de France in Lille, France. "Our study focuses on the effects of heavy alcohol use on the timeline of stroke and the long-term outcome for those people."

For the study, 540 people with an average age of 71 who had a type of stroke called intracerebral hemorrhage were interviewed about their drinking habits. Doctors also interviewed the participants or the caregivers or relatives about the participants' drinking habits. A total of 137 people, or 25 percent, were heavy drinkers, which was defined as having three or more drinks per day, or about 1.6 ounces per day of "pure" alcohol.

Participants also underwent CT and their medical records were reviewed.

The study found that heavy drinkers experienced a stroke at an average age of 60, 14 years before the average age of their non-heavy drinking counterparts. Among people younger than 60 who had a stroke that occurred in the deep part of the brain, heavy drinkers were more likely to die within two years of the study follow-up than non-.

"It's important to keep in mind that drinking large amounts of alcohol contributes to a more severe form of stroke at a younger age in people who had no significant past medical history," said Cordonnier.

Explore further: Heavy drinking increases stroke risk

Related Stories

Alzheimer's starts earlier for heavy drinkers, smokers

April 16, 2008

Heavy drinkers and heavy smokers develop Alzheimer’s disease years earlier than people with Alzheimer’s who do not drink or smoke heavily, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology ...

Brain activity may predict teens' heavy drinking

August 8, 2012

Heavy drinking is known to affect teenagers' developing brains, but certain patterns of brain activity may also help predict which kids are at risk of becoming problem drinkers, according to a study in the September issue ...

Recommended for you

Next steps in understanding brain function

August 26, 2016

The most complex piece of matter in the known universe is the brain. Neuroscientists have recently taken on the challenge to understand brain function from its intricate anatomy and structure. There is no sure way to go about ...

Scientists map brain's action center

August 25, 2016

When you reach for that pan of brownies, a ball-shaped brain structure called the striatum is critical for controlling your movement toward the reward. A healthy striatum also helps you stop yourself when you've had enough.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.