Hangovers may up stroke risk

Having a hangover may increase a person's risk of suffering a stroke independent of the total amount of alcohol consumed, a new study has warned.

The Finnish population-based study found that binge drinking was associated with increased atherosclerotic progression, a risk factor for stroke, in an 11-year follow-up of middle-aged men.

Men who consumed 6 drinks or more on one occasion showed increased progression of atherosclerosis, a condition where the arteries become narrowed and hardened due to an excessive build up of plaque.

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, researchers said.

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, according to researcher Sanna Rantakomi at the University of Eastern Finland.

The prospective follow-up study was part of the FinDrink Study. The subjects were a population-based sample of more than 2,600 men living in eastern Finland and participating in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD).

The follow-up time was between 11 to 20 years. Alcohol consumption was assessed using the Nordic alcohol consumption inventory.

Incident strokes were ascertained through the FINMONICA stroke register, which is the Finnish part of the WHO MONICA (Multinational Monitoring of Trends and determinants in Cardiovascular Diseases), and from the Finnish national hospital discharge register and death certificate registers.

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. 

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