Alcohol and the Risk for Stroke in Men. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142:I-24. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-142-1-200501040-00002
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 2005;142(1):I-24.
Stroke occurs when blood stops flowing to the brain, usually because of blood vessel disease that causes blockage in an artery. The blood vessel disease that causes stroke is similar to that which causes heart disease, and the same factors that cause or prevent heart disease often cause or prevent stroke. Research shows that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol protects a person from developing heart disease. It is not clear if drinking alcohol has any effect on a person's risk for stroke.
To see if drinking alcohol affects a person's risk for stroke, and if that risk differs by amount of alcohol, frequency of drinking, and the type of alcohol a person drinks.
38 156 male health professionals between 40 and 75 years of age who had never had a stroke. All were participants in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, a project begun in 1986 to evaluate the role of nutritional factors in men's health.
Over 12 years, researchers used questionnaires to determine how much and what types of alcohol participants drank, how often they drank, and if they had had a stroke since the last time they completed a questionnaire. Participants received questionnaires every 2 years, but only every other questionnaire included questions on alcohol consumption. The researchers then compared the participants' risk for stroke by amount and frequency of drinking and by type of alcohol consumed.
Four hundred twelve of the study participants had a stroke. Having 3 or more drinks per day seemed to increase the risk. Moderate drinking appeared to have a protective effect; participants who drank 1 to 2 times per day 3 to 4 days of the week were almost one third less likely to have a stroke than participants who abstained from alcohol altogether. Red wine seemed to be more protective than beer or other liquor.
The small number of strokes limited the precision of the findings, which could have been a result of factors other than alcohol. The researchers could not study all forms of stroke and could not say for sure if red wine was better than other types of alcohol because some people drank more than 1 type.
Heavy drinking seems to increase risk for stroke. Moderate drinking, especially of red wine, appears to protect against stroke and is probably safe for adults who can control how much and when they drink.
The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.
Results provided by:
Copyright © 2016 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only