WEDNESDAY, Nov. 2, 2022 (HealthDay News) — For young adults, moderate-to-heavy drinking is associated with an increased risk for stroke, according to a study published online Nov. 2 in Neurology.

Jae-wook Chung, M.D., from Seoul National University Hospital in South Korea, and colleagues used data from the Korean National Health Insurance Service database for 1,536,668 individuals aged 20 to 39 years who underwent four consecutive annual health examinations between 2009 and 2012 to examine the association between cumulative alcohol burden and risk for stroke. The cumulative alcohol burden score of moderate-to-heavy drinking was assessed by assigning a score of 1 for alcohol consumption ≥105 g/week at the health examination and calculating the sum of four years.

Overall, 3,153 participants experienced an incident stroke during a median follow-up of six years (incidence rate, 0.37 per 1,000 person-years). The researchers found that individuals with alcohol burden scores of 2, 3 and 4 had significantly higher risks for stroke compared with those with a score of 0 (hazard ratios, 1.19, 1.22, and 1.23, respectively) after multivariable adjustment. The positive dose relationship was mainly due to hemorrhagic stroke and not ischemic stroke. High alcohol burden scores were associated with significantly higher risks for hemorrhagic stroke (hazard ratios, 1.30, 1.42, and 1.36 for scores of 2, 3, and 4, respectively, versus 0).

“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,” a coauthor said in a statement.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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