Monday, February 09, 2015
If one desires to lead life in high spirits then going slow on alcohol may be a good way to start. American researchers have recently found that drinking more than 2 alcoholic beverages a day in one’s fifties and sixties could increase the risk of stroke (by 34%) more than traditional risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, the study evaluated questionnaires of 11,644 middle-aged identical same-sex Swedish twins retrieved from the Swedish Twin Registry. At the start of the study, all the twins were below 60 years of age. The registry provided data on hospital discharge and cause of death during 43 years of follow up.
The researchers compared the effects of an average of more than two drinks daily (termed "heavy drinking") to less than half a drink daily (termed "light drinking"). Based on the answers to the questionnaires, the researchers divided the participants into 4 groups, namely light, moderate and heavy drinkers, and non-drinkers. They then sorted the data based on stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and other cardiovascular events.
Among the study participants, nearly 30% suffered a stroke. They found that heavy drinkers in their fifties and sixties were likely to experience a stroke 5 years earlier irrespective of genetic and early-life factors. Specifically, among the identical twin pairs, the siblings who experienced a stroke drank more than their siblings who had not experienced a stroke negating the role of genetics and lifestyle.
"We now have a clearer picture about these risk factors, how they change with age and how the influence of drinking alcohol shifts as we get older. For mid-aged adults, avoiding more than two drinks a day could be a way to prevent stroke in later productive age (about 60s)," said the researchers.
Drinking any kind of alcohol regularly is known to elevate blood pressure, and cause arrhythmias, heart failure or strokes. The findings of this study support the American Heart Association's recommendation of limiting consumption to 2 drinks a day in men and 1 in women.
Thus, exercising moderation would be a wise practice to ensure good health.
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