50 Shades of Festive Awareness

ChampersAs more and more people begin preparing for Christmas we realise how early we all start celebrating this days. People meet up from work, end of term social activities and so it continues more often than not that they go out for either drinks or a meal. This is all good fun and don’t get me wrong I’m one of the first ones to accept invites wherever possible, but we must remain mindful of how we risk overloading our bodies and possibly asking too much of our organs.

We know that low to moderate alcohol consumption can be beneficial to us, to our circulation and our hearts but high consumption can have serious negative consequences to our health, stroke being one of them. Seasonal binge drinking is something we must be aware of, so as to both enjoy the festivities and remain healthy.

To help us to stay safe there is an organisation called ‘The National Institute on Alcohol abuse’ (NIAAA, )who give advice on how to drink safely during the festive season.

One drink per day for woman and two for men counts as moderate drinking, which they advise lowers your risk of ischemic stroke and diabetes. However, consuming alcohol in large amounts remains highly dangerous. It is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States of America.

Looking at the link between alcohol and stroke in a study carried out in Sweden and by the University of Cambridge here in the U.K., researchers looked at 25 studies containing data on ischemic stroke, intracerebral haemorrhage and subarachnoid haemorrhage. Levels of alcohol consumption were evaluated using patients’ answers to all relevant questions either in an interview or a questionnaire. Alcohol consumption was then divided into four categories, light, moderate, high and heavy drinking. It also took into account the age, sex, body mass index (BMI) and existing diabetes.

The findings suggested that light and moderate drinking appeared to lower the risk of ischemic stroke, which as we know, is the most common type of stroke. Yet it had no impact on the risk of developing haemorrhaging stroke.

It also illustrated that heavy drinkers were about 1.6 times more likely to suffer from intracerebral hemorrhage and 1.8 times more likely to suffer from subarachnoid haemorrhage, the association with these two types of stroke being stronger than that of ischemic stroke.

They concluded that although moderate drinking maybe beneficial regarding lowering the risk of ischemic stroke due to the adverse effect of alcohol on blood pressure, which is a major risk factor of stroke, it may outweigh any potential benefit.

In conclusion, we should all try to strike a happy medium, something that is both enjoyable and safe.

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