The study analysed a large (11,644 people) Swedish registry of twins (born between 1886 and 1925), who were asked about their alcohol intake at age 45 to 55 years. Stroke occurred in almost 30% of patients (on the basis of hospital discharge and cause-of-death registries) over the study’s 43-year follow-up.
After adjusting for other known stroke risk factors including age, diabetes, smoking etc, the stroke rate was lowest in the very light drinkers (those who drank an average of less than half an alcoholic drink per day) and 34% higher in those who drank more than 2 drinks per day (these are standard drinks – a middy of beer, a standard 110mL glass of wine or a nip of spirits). This effect seemed to continue until around the age of 75, after which the more traditional risk factors of high blood pressure and diabetes became stronger.
This suggests that stroke between the ages of 60-75 may be influenced strongly by drinking status – more than 2 standard drinks per day is a risk factor. Those who drank more than 2 drinks per day also had their strokes 5.68 years earlier than the average.
Image by Dave Dugdaleused under the Creative Commons license.