Binge drinking was associated with increased atherosclerotic progression in an 11-year follow-up of middle-aged men, shows a Finnish population-based study.
The progression of atherosclerosis was increased among men who consumed 6 drinks or more on one occasion. In addition, the risk of stroke increased among men who had at least one hangover per year. Hangovers increased the risk of stroke independent of the total amount of alcohol consumed. Hypertension and overweight, in the presence of alcohol consumption, further increased the risk of stroke. Drinking large quantities of alcohol more than twice a week increased the risk of stroke mortality in men.
Ms Sanna Rantakömi, MSc, presented the results in her doctoral thesis at the University of Eastern Finland.
Excessive alcohol consumption has been associated with a wide range of medical conditions. Moderate alcohol consumption is linked to a lower risk of stroke than abstinence, whereas heavy alcohol consumption has been associated with an increased risk of stroke and stroke mortality. In addition to alcohol consumption, the most important risk factors for stroke are hypertension, coronary artery disease, cardiac insufficiency, atrial fibrillation, type 2 diabetes, smoking, overweight, asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis and elevated levels of cholesterol.
Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide after heart disease, accounting for ten per cent of all deaths. Furthermore, stroke is one of the leading causes of disability.