Alcohol and Strokes


Drinking excessively can put you at greater risk of suffering from a stroke.

Some believe that small amounts of alcohol can protect against conditions such as heart disease and this may also be the situation with some types of stroke too, but the picture is complicated. 80% of strokes are caused by blood clots which block the arteries. Some research finds that small amounts of alcohol can decrease the risk of having this kind of stroke.

However, other strokes are caused by burst blood vessels in the brain – haemorrhaging. Alcohol has not been found to provide any protection against this kind of stroke and some experts say that moderate to heavy drinking can in fact increase the risks. Heavy drinking increases the risk of suffering all kinds of stroke.

A Scottish study from the 70s found that individuals who drank more than five units of alcohol daily over the two decades they were studied doubled their risk of dying from a stroke compared to non-drinkers.

To avoid alcohol increasing your risk of having a stroke, do not go over the Government’s recommended limits on alcohol consumption. Women should not drink more than 14 units in a week and men shouldn’t drink more than 21. Also, within this, women shouldn’t have more than two or three units a day and men shouldn't drink more than three or four.

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