To drink or not to drink?

Middle-aged drinkers who consume a large glass of wine each day heighten their risk of stroke by a third, new research reveals.

They are also at higher risk of stroke than others living with chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

The research, published in the prestigious Stroke journal today, followed 11,644 middle-aged Swedish twins over 43 years.

The findings show people in their fifties and sixties who consume at least two alcoholic drinks a day – equal to one large glass of wine or a 1.25 schooner of beer – are at a third greater risk (34 per cent) of stroke than those who consume just under half the volume.

While previous studies have found alcohol increases stroke risk, this is the first research to delineate stroke risk by age.

Most licensed venues serve a glass of wine that equates to three units, or 12 per cent of alcohol, the recommended maximum alcohol intake for women.

The research suggests diabetes and blood pressure become two of the main influences for having at stroke around 75 years of age.

According to Research Communications Manager, Stroke Association UK, Dr Shamim Quadir, “Alcohol is one of the world’s leading causes of ill-health, and regularly drinking large amounts can significantly increase your risk of a stroke.

“These important findings suggest that heavy drinkers in their 50s and 60s could be putting themselves at increased risk of stroke.

“The results also indicate that heavy drinking during middle-age is a higher risk factor for stroke than high blood pressure and diabetes,” said Dr Quadir.

“Enjoying alcohol in moderation, taking regular exercise and eating a balanced diet are simple ways to reduce your stroke risk. Anyone with any concerns should have a chat with their GP.”

Apart from drinking less alcohol, The Mirror, UK suggests the following ways to reduce your risk of stroke:

  • Eating tomatoes
  • Drinking coffee
  • Daily power walking
  • Avoiding soft drink
  • Getting a flu shot
  • Establishing a regular sleep routine
  • Drinking low-fat milk
  • Monitoring your blood-pressure
  • Following a Mediterranean diet.