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Light-to-moderate alcohol consumption linked to reduced stroke risk

Cheers, preventive health nuts: Drinking in moderation could be a stroke of genius.

Meera Jagannathan, NY Daily News, Nov 28, 2016

Light-to-moderate boozing - i.e. up to two alcoholic beverages a day - was associated in a recent report with lower risk of ischemic stroke, which according to the American Stroke Association accounts for 87% of all cases.

"Findings from our meta-analysis showed that light and moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a respectively 10% and 8% lower risk of ischemic stroke," lead author Susanna Larsson said in a release for the 27-study review published last week in BMC Medicine.

Not so fast: "Heavy" alcohol consumption, or more than four drinks a day, was linked to increased risk of all stroke types.

"Heavy drinking was significantly associated with a respectively 14%, 67%, and 82% increased risk of ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, and subarachnoid hemorrhage," said Larsson, a professor at Sweden's Karolinska Institute.

Ischemic stroke stems from a blockage within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain, while hemorrhagic stroke - which makes up about 13% of cases - occurs from a weakened blood vessel leak.

The main takeaway, Larsson told the Daily News, is that "light-to-moderate alcohol consumption does not increase the risk of any stroke type and may even lower the risk of ischemic stroke."

"No change in alcohol drinking is required for most light-moderate drinkers," she said. "Nondrinkers cannot be recommended to start drinking."

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