Binge drinking linked to stroke in men

June 26, 2009 at 9:14 PM
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SEOUL, June 26 (UPI) -- Binge drinking -- six or more alcoholic drinks at one occasion at lease once a week -- is linked with stroke in South Korean men, researchers said.

In the study, binge drinkers were defined as men who drank six or more servings of alcohol and women who drank four or more servings of alcohol on one occasion at least once a week. Most of the alcohol was soju, a native Korean distilled liquor similar to vodka. It is 25 percent alcohol by volume.

"The proportion of Korean adults who drink alcohol is among the world's highest and heavy drinking is also high," senior researcher Dr. Heechoul Ohrr of Yonsei University College of Medicine, in Seoul, said in a statement. "About 46 percent of Korean men and 9 percent of Korean women are considered heavy drinkers."

The researchers examined the association between binge drinking and risks of death from all causes and specifically stroke for some 6,000 citizens age 55 and older living in an agricultural community. They were tracked for 20 years.

The study, published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, found the risk of a bleeding stroke -- hemorrhagic -- was more than 300 percent higher among male binge drinkers, while the risk of total stroke was 86 percent higher among male binge drinkers.

Female binge drinkers showed increased risk of death from heart disease or stroke, but it was not statistically significant, the study said.

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