Sunday, 10 Dec 2023

Even moderate drinking raises your risk of stroke, finds study

Even cutting down your alcohol intake may not completely protect you from the health risks of booze.

It might be time to go teetotal.

A new study challenges the belief that a drink a day could be good for you, finding that even moderate drinking raises a person’s risk of stroke and high blood pressure.

In the study, conducted in China, researchers tracked more than 500,000 people for a decade, looking at their medical history and habits with smoking and drinking.

They found that alcohol increases risk of stroke by around one third for every four additional drinks per day. That bit feels pretty obvious – we know heavy drinking isn’t god for us.

But the researchers also found that people who consume one or two drinks a day – which would qualify as moderate drinking – had an increased stroke risk of 10% to 15% compared to nondrinkers.

So essentially, the concept that a drink or two a day is good for you might not be the case. The study found no evidence of alcohol having any kind of protective effect.

The study’s authors say more research is needed into alcohol’s impact on heart attack risk, as there weren’t enough heart attacks among the participants to draw a conclusion.

The researchers want their findings to call for stricter regulations on alcohol, and more awareness of the health risks of even moderate drinking.

Senior author Richard Peto said: ‘The claims that alcohol has some magical, protective fix … has no particularly serious scientific basis.

The alcohol industry is thriving and should be regulated in a similar way to the tobacco industry,’ wrote Shiu Lun Au Yeung and Dr. Tai Hing Lam of the University of Hong Kong.

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