The stroke risk: Heavy drinking is associated with unhealthy changes in blood pressure and can make blood clots more likely.
In fact, alcohol may raise stroke risks even higher than other cardiovascular risk factors in middle-aged heavy drinkers. Their risks are 34% higher than those of light drinkers, according to research in the January 2015 American Heart Association journal Stroke.
Regardless of genetic and early-life risk factors, people in their 50s and 60s who drink too heavily are likely to have a stroke five years sooner than they would have otherwise, according to the National Stroke Association.
Reduce it: Men should have no more than one to two drinks per day; women should have no more than one. A single drink is at most 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor.
“Don’t think that avoiding alcohol all week means you can binge on Friday night,” Dr. Goldstein warns. “If you drink excessively, you’re at much higher risk of having a stroke in the next 12 hours.”