Drinking alcohol several times a week increases the risk of stroke mortality

March 19, 2014

Consuming alcohol more frequently than twice a week increases the risk of stroke mortality in men, according to a study carried out at the University of Eastern Finland. The results show that the effects of alcohol are not limited to the amount consumed, but also the frequency of drinking matters. The results were published in Acta Neurologica Scandinavica on 8 March.

Excessive consumption of alcohol is associated with a variety of different diseases. The relationship between and ischaemic stroke shows a J curve pattern, which means that in people who are moderate consumers of alcohol, the risk of stroke is the lowest, while heavy consumption of alcohol increases the risk of stroke. The risk of cerebral haemorrhage increases linearly as the consumption of alcohol increases: the higher the amount of alcohol consumed, the higher the risk of stroke. In addition to alcohol, other significant risk factors for stroke include elevated blood pressure, , heart failure, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, smoking, overweight, asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis, and elevated cholesterol levels.

The study showed that people who consume alcohol more frequently than twice a week have over a threefold risk of than people who do not consume alcohol at all. The risk of stroke mortality is elevated irrespective of the amount of alcohol consumed.

The study is based on follow-up data from the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, KIHD. At the onset of the study, the men participating in the study were middle-aged, and the follow-up time was 20 years. A total of 2,609 men participated in the study.

The consumption of alcohol was measured with the help of a Nordic alcohol survey charting the amount of consumed at one time and the average number of drinking occasions in the preceding 12 months. The data on cases of stroke was obtained from hospital discharge registers, the Finnish Stroke Register, and the National Cause of Death Register maintained by Statistics Finland.

Explore further: Let's raise a glass to, well, what's in the glass: The benefits of alcohol in stroke risk

More information: Rantakömi SH, Kurl S, Sivenius J, Kauhanen J, Laukkanen JA. The frequency of alcohol consumption is associated with the stroke mortality. Acta Neurol Scand. 2014 Mar 8.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New insights on how cocaine changes the brain

November 25, 2015

The burst of energy and hyperactivity that comes with a cocaine high is a rather accurate reflection of what's going on in the brain of its users, finds a study published November 25 in Cell Reports. Through experiments conducted ...

Can physical exercise enhance long-term memory?

November 25, 2015

Exercise can enhance the development of new brain cells in the adult brain, a process called adult neurogenesis. These newborn brain cells play an important role in learning and memory. A new study has determined that mice ...

Umbilical cells help eye's neurons connect

November 24, 2015

Cells isolated from human umbilical cord tissue have been shown to produce molecules that help retinal neurons from the eyes of rats grow, connect and survive, according to Duke University researchers working with Janssen ...

Brain connections predict how well you can pay attention

November 24, 2015

During a 1959 television appearance, Jack Kerouac was asked how long it took him to write his novel On The Road. His response – three weeks – amazed the interviewer and ignited an enduring myth that the book was composed ...

No cable spaghetti in the brain

November 24, 2015

Our brain is a mysterious machine. Billions of nerve cells are connected such that they store information as efficiently as books are stored in a well-organized library. To this date, many details remain unclear, for instance ...


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.