The risk of stroke appears to double in the hour after consuming just one drink - be it wine, beer or hard liquor - according to a new study.
The study found that in 390 ischemic stroke patients, compared with times when alcohol wasn't being used, the relative risk of stroke after alcohol consumption was 2.3 times higher in the first hour.
It was also 1.6 times higher in the second hour and 30 percent lower than baseline after 24 hours.
"The impact of alcohol on your risk of ischemic stroke appears to depend on how much and how often you drink," said Dr. Murray A. Mittleman, senior author of the Stroke Onset Study (SOS) and director of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass.
Just after drinking, blood pressure rises and blood platelets become stickier, which may increase the possibility of a clot forming.
However, consistent use of small amounts of alcohol is associated with beneficial changes in blood lipids and more flexible blood vessels, which may reduce risk overall.
The findings may not apply to patients with severe stroke.
The scientists recommend drinking in moderation - no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
The study is reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.