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Young adults who drink heavily increase their risk of having a stroke, study finds

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Drinking moderate to heavy amounts of alcohol in your 20s and 30s may increase your risk of stroke during early adulthood, results of a recent study out of South Korea suggest.

Researchers from Seoul National University Hospital analyzed health records of more than 1.5 million 20- and 30-somethings who had four health exams annually. Participants were asked about alcohol consumption and followed for an average of six years. Almost 3,200 of them had a stroke during that period.

Findings show that the participants who, for two years, had more than one drink a day – equivalent to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1½ ounces of liquor – were 19% more likely to suffer a stroke than light drinkers or those who didn’t consume alcohol.

The risk climbed with the duration of moderate to heaving drinking. The participants who reported three years of such consumption had a 22% increased risk, while those with four years had a 23% increased risk.


“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 co-author Eue-Keun Choi. “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.”

The study was published online in the journal Neurology.

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