One More Drink is More Than One!
“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”
–F. Scott Fitzgerald
Today we’ll discuss alcohol dependence and abuse as one of the top ten modifiable risk factors for stroke, and I’d like to start the lesson with “Memories of alcohol”:
“I drank for happiness and became unhappy. I drank for joy and became miserable. I drank for sociability and became argumentative. I drank for sophistication and became obnoxious. I drank for friendship and made enemies. I drank for sleep and woke up tired. I drank for strength and felt weak. I drank for relaxation and got the shakes. I drank for courage and became afraid. I drank for confidence and became doubtful. I drank to make conversation easier and slurred my speech. I drank to feel heavenly and ended up feeling like hell.”
Excessive drinking raises the chance of suffering a stroke by 5.8% according to INTERSTROKE, the largest study on global and regional effects of stroke risk factors.
But I’m not going to say to quit drinking like I did for smoking. Why? Because research showed that moderate consumption of alcohol can decrease the risk of heart diseases and stroke. And moderate consumption means ONE DRINK PER DAY!
Studies over several decades showed that this benefit may be particularly due to wine, especially red wine, which is rich in flavonoids and other antioxidants that increase good cholesterol in the blood and have some anti-clotting properties. But some studies recently revealed the same properties for beer and other types of alcohol.
However, this doesn’t mean that it’s recommended you drink alcohol to gain these potential health benefits, as these benefits are the same if you consume more vegetables and fruits, and red grapes in particular.
Besides, it’s crucial to take into account other potential physical (high blood pressure, increased calorie intake, cancer, fetal harm and death (during pregnancy)) and mental (dependence and abuse, variations in brain function leading to accidents, violence, suicide) cons of excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages.
Overcoming alcohol addiction can be a long process that requires both personal dedication and therapy. There are many types of treatment for alcoholism available today that can help you recover and get back to living healthy and fulfilling life. Your treatment specialist may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
• alcohol detox
• behavior modification
These should only be completed under professional medical care.
Additionally, for people who wish to reduce or stop drinking alcohol, WHO has developed portals with a self-screening tool for harmful use of alcohol and a fully computerized self-help program.
By the way, October 2 is World No-Alcohol Day and April is Alcohol Awareness Month.
It doesn’t matter how old you are
A further concern is the growing number of young people who are alcohol-dependent, and in addition to migraine, pregnancy, contraceptive pills, smoking, and obesity at a younger age, which we’ve discussed in previous lessons, it contributes to the increasing rate of young stroke.
Age is one non-modifiable risk factor for stroke, which means that stroke risk increases with age, with most people being over the age of 65. But young stroke or stroke in people under 45 is not uncommon nowadays. Moreover, even though the overall stroke incidence is down globally, it is increasing for young and middle-aged people, indicating the importance of raising awareness of stroke prevention among young people.
Tomorrow, we’ll discuss how a non-prudent diet and poor environmental conditions can contribute to increased risks of having a stroke.
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