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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Alcohol Raises Stroke Risk Hour After Drinking

One's chance of stroke appears to double in the first hour after consuming a drink. A new study in which 390 ischemic stroke patients were researched, it was determined that when alcohol was present there was a 2.3 times greater chance of having a stroke in the first hour, 1.6 times higher in the second hour, and 30 percent lower than baseline after 24 hours. People who have a history of stroke in their family should be aware of this as a gauge of how much alcohol they consume at a given time.

When alcohol is introduced into the blood stream there are many different effects that it has. When one drinks their blood pressure rises relatively quickly and blood platelets become stickier, sometimes causing or increasing the chance of a clot forming which could lead to a stroke. The study suggests that moderate drinking may be beneficial for some people but others who have a history of stroke should refrain if possible. We still don't fully understand how far reaching the effects of alcohol are on our body, which is why studies like these are extremely important. The more we know the better off we are.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Over 143,579 people die each year from stroke in the United States. Each year, about 795,000 people suffer a stroke. About 600,000 of these are first attacks, and 185,000 are recurrent attacks.

"The impact of alcohol on your risk of ischemic stroke appears to depend on how much and how often you drink," said Dr. Murray A. Mittleman, 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. Alcoholics who have a family history of stroke should be even more conscious of the effects of mass quantities of alcohol on their body.

The study is reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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