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Heavy Drinking Increases Stroke Risk in Chinese Men

Higher risk of stroke incidence seen in older men who consume more than three drinks per day

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Middle-aged and older men who consume more than 21 alcoholic beverages per week may have an increased risk of stroke, according to the results of a study of Chinese men published online Aug. 20 in the Annals of Neurology.

Lydia A. Bazzano, M.D., Ph.D., of Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, and colleagues studied 64,338 Chinese men aged 40 and older who were stroke-free when they enrolled in the 1991 China National Hypertension Survey.

During a follow-up of the men in 1999 and 2000, the researchers identified 3,434 incident strokes and 1,848 fatal strokes. After adjusting for factors such as age, body mass index and geographic variation (urban versus rural), the investigators found that the relative stroke risk was 0.92 among men who consumed one to six drinks per week, 1.02 among those who consumed seven to 20 drinks per week, and 1.22 among those who consumed more than 21 drinks per week. They also found that the heaviest drinkers -- those who consumed more than 35 drinks per week -- had higher risks of stroke incidence and mortality (22 percent and 30 percent, respectively) than those who drank no alcohol.

"Preventing heavy alcohol consumption (more than 21 drinks per week) among men may be one element of multifaceted public health strategies to reduce stroke burden in the world," the authors conclude.

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