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Stroke Risk Temporarily Increases For An Hour After Drinking Alcohol

Posted Jul 25 2010 2:26pm

Call it the not-so-happy hour. The risk of stroke appears to double in the hour after consuming just one drink — be it wine, beer or hard liquor — according to a small multi-center study reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

“The impact of alcohol on your risk of ischemic stroke appears to depend on how much and how often you drink,” said Murray A. Mittleman, M.D., Dr.P.H., 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.

Prior to the SOS, researchers didn’t know if alcohol consumption had an immediate impact on ischemic stroke (caused by a blood clot in a vessel in or leading to the brain), although modest alcohol use (less than two drinks per day) may potentially lower risk in the long term.

Researchers interviewed 390 ischemic stroke patients (209 men, 181 women) about three days after their stroke regarding many aspects of their lives. Patients were excluded if the stroke seriously impaired their ability to speak or if they weren’t well enough to participate. Fourteen patients had consumed alcohol within one hour of stroke onset.

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