Heavy Drinking Linked to Stroke and Heart Disease

Light-to-moderate drinking lowers risk of death from cardiovascular disease

FRIDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- Men who drink heavily have a higher risk of death from stroke, while women who drink heavily have a higher risk of death from coronary heart disease, but light-to-moderate drinking lowers the risk of death from cardiovascular disease in both sexes, according to research published online July 10 in Stroke.

Satoyo Ikehara, from Osaka University in Japan, and colleagues surveyed 34,776 Japanese men and 48,906 Japanese women regarding their alcohol consumption. In the study, light consumption was 0.1 to 22.9 g alcohol per day, moderate consumption was 23.0 to 45.9 g alcohol per day, and heavy consumption was 46.0 g alcohol per day or more.

After a median follow-up of 14.2 years, there were 1,628 deaths from stroke and 736 deaths from coronary heart disease, the researchers report. For men, the investigators found that compared with those who did not drink, heavy drinking was associated with an increased risk of death from total stroke (hazard ratio 1.48), hemorrhagic stroke (HR, 1.67) and ischemic stroke (HR, 1.35), while light-to-moderate drinking was associated with a reduced risk of death from total cardiovascular disease (HR, 0.88). For women, heavy drinking was associated with a higher risk of death from coronary heart disease (HR, 4.10), while light drinking was associated with a lower risk of death from total cardiovascular disease (HR, 0.75).

"The excess mortality from hemorrhagic stroke associated with heavy alcohol consumption and the reduced mortality from ischemic cardiovascular disease associated with light-to-moderate alcohol consumption are consistent with the results of previous studies of whites and Japanese with regard to hemorrhagic stroke, ischemic stroke and coronary heart disease," Ikehara and colleagues write.

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