People in their 20s and 30s who drink moderate to heavy amounts of alcohol may be more likely to have a stroke as young adults than people who drink low amounts or no alcohol, researchers have warned.
According to the study published in the journal Neurology, the risk of stroke increased the more years people reported moderate or heavy drinking.
“The rate of stroke among young adults has been increasing over the last few decades, and stroke in young adults causes death and serious disability,” said study author Eue-Keun Choi of Seoul National University in the South Korea.
“If we could prevent stroke in young adults by reducing alcohol consumption, that could potentially have a substantial impact on the health of individuals and the overall burden of stroke on society,” Choi added.
People who drank 105 grams or more per week were considered moderate or heavy drinkers. This is equal to 15 ounces per day, or slightly more than one drink per day.
A standard drink contains about 14 grams of alcohol, which is equivalent to 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor.
More than 1.5 million people were included in the study. A total of 3,153 had a stroke during the study.
People who were moderate to heavy drinkers for two or more years of the study were about 20 per cent more likely to have a stroke than people who were light drinkers or did not drink alcohol.
As the number of years of moderate to heavy drinking increased, so did the risk of stroke.
People with two years of moderate to heavy drinking had a 19 per cent increased risk, people with three years had a 22 per cent increased risk and people with four years had a 23 per cent increased risk.
These results were after researchers accounted for other factors that could affect the risk of stroke, such as high blood pressure, smoking and body mass index.
The association was mainly due to an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke, or stroke caused by bleeding in the brain.
“Reducing alcohol consumption should be emphasised in young adults with heavy drinking habits as part of any strategy to prevent stroke,” Choi said.