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Stroke Risk Higher in Hour After 'Happy Hour'

Study Shows Increase in Stroke Risk in the First Hour After Drinking Alcohol

Measuring Stroke Risk of Drinkers continued...

During the interviews, 14 people said they drank an alcoholic beverage within an hour of their stroke, 104 said they had a drink within the past 24 hours, and 248 said they had drunk alcohol in the past year, the researchers report.

Stroke risk was 2.3 times higher in that first hour after alcohol consumption, 60% higher in that second hour, and returned to normal risk thereafter, when compared with stroke risk in people who did not drink an alcoholic beverage during these time intervals. The findings held even after researchers took into account other factors known to affect stroke risk.

Now, Mittleman and colleagues plan look at how alcohol affects stroke risk over six months.

Second Opinion

Calling the new study "intriguing," Irene Katzan, MD, director of the Primary Stroke Care Center at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, tells WebMD that the new research "seems to open the door for us to evaluate the phenomenon more closely."

The new study will not change how she talks to her patients about their drinking habits.

"The guidelines and general consensus state that one to two drinks a day is slightly beneficial at reducing risk of stroke and heart disease, and that heavy drinking is detrimental, and this study does not change that," she says.

However, "it's very interesting and should be further explored because if we better understand and characterize this phenomenon, it could potentially alter what we tell patients in the future."

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