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Stroke Risk May Rise First Hour After Drinking
Date:7/15/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- For an hour after drinking even a small amount of alcohol, the risk of stroke increases, a small, preliminary study suggests.

But even though your risk may rise over that short time, the researchers noted that moderate drinking over the long-term might actually reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.

"The risk of ischemic stroke may be transiently elevated in the two hours after drinking as little as one serving of beer, wine, or liquor," said lead researcher Elizabeth Mostofsky, a member of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

However, conclusive evidence about the association between alcohol consumption and the acute risk of stroke would require a long-term clinical trial, she added.

"Nonetheless, these results suggest that there is an acute elevated risk of ischemic stroke that may be offset by the potential beneficial effects of long-term moderate alcohol consumption," Mostofsky said. But the findings may not apply to patients with severe stroke, she added.

For the study, published in the July 15 online edition of Stroke, Mostofsky's group interviewed 390 patients about three days after their stroke. Patients who could not speak or were too ill were excluded from the study.

In all, 14 patients had been drinking in the hour before their stroke, the researchers found.

"We found that compared with times when alcohol was not consumed, the relative risk of stroke after alcohol consumption was 2.3 times higher in the hour after drinking beer, wine or liquor," Mostofsky said.

"The relative risk was 1.6 in the second hour after drinking. By 24 hours, there was a 30 percent lower risk," she said.

This pattern remained regardless of the type of alcohol consumed or whether the patients had exercised before their stroke. Moreover, when
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