In a study likely applicable to men of other ethnicities, Tulane University researchers found that heavy drinking (more than 21 drinks per week) may increase the risk of stroke in Chinese men. The results of the study are published in the latest issue of Annals of Neurology.
Researchers led by Lydia Bazzano of Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine recently examined the relationship between alcohol consumption and stroke in a large nationally representative sample of Chinese men. In China, stroke is the leading cause of death for men, killing more than 20 percent of the male population. It is also the top reason for long-term disability. Alcohol use in China has increased in recent years alongside the country's economic development.
The research team conducted a study of 64,338 men who participated in the 1991 China National Hypertension Survey. At the start of the survey all of the men were over 40 years old and free of stroke. They provided information about their demographic characteristics, medical history and lifestyle risk factors, including alcohol consumption.
Between 1999 and 2000 the researchers followed up with the participants, determined all incidents of stroke and assessed any relationship between alcohol consumption and stroke.
The researchers found that the risk of stroke was higher among those who drank more alcohol, and heavier drinking also correlated to higher risk of death by stroke.
"Alcohol consumption was significantly related to increased stroke incidence and mortality," the authors report. "At the top level of alcohol consumption (at least 35 drinks per week), risk of stroke incidence was 22 percent higher and risk of mortality was 30 percent higher than among nondrinkers.