Moderate Alcohol Drinking Reduces Stroke Risk in Women

This study of 83,578 women over a period of 26 years found that the risk of strokes was significantly lower among those who consumed alcohol at light to moderate levels compared to non-drinkers or abstainers.

The subjects were participants in the Nurses' Health Study who were free of cardiovascular disease at the beginning if the study. Their alcohol consumption was assessed every four years. Stroke and potential cofounders were assessed biannually.

Women who consumed one drink per day had a reduced risk of stroke of about one-fifth. The risk of stroke didn't show any evidence of beginning to increase until consumption was over about three drinks per day.

Light and moderate drinking significantly reduced both ischemic stroke (caused by an atherosclerotic obstruction or blood clot in an artery) or hemorrhagic stroke (caused by bleeding in the brain).

These findings are consistent with a study of over 22,000 male physicians who were participants in the Physicians Health Study and with much other research demonstrating a protective effect of light and moderate drinking on the risk of developing strokes.

The research report is published in Stroke, an official publication of the American Stroke Association.

Note: This website is informational only. It does not make any suggestions or recommendation about alcohol consumption or stroke and none should be inferred.


  • Jimenez, M. et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of stroke in women. Stroke, 2012. pre-publication. Pre-published on March 8, 2012. DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.111.639435

Readings on Stroke

  • Berger, K., et al. Light-to-moderate alcohol consumption and the risk of stroke among U.S. male physicians. New England Journal of Medicine, Nov. 18, 1999, 341 (21).
  • Bronner LL, et al. Primary prevention of stroke. New England Journal of Medicine, Nov 23, 1995, 333(21), 1392-400.
  • Leira E.C., et al. Can we predict early recurrence in acute stroke?, Cerebrovascular Diseases, 2004,18(2),139-44.
  • Patra, J., et al. Alcohol consumption and the risk of morbidity and mortality for different stroke types – a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Public Health, 2010, 10, art No 258, 12 pp.
  • Sacco, R. L., et al. The protective effect of moderate alcohol consumption on ischemic stroke, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1999, 281, 53-60.
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics - 2007 Update, published by the American Heart Association.

Filed Under: Brain

This website is informational only. It makes no suggestions or recommendations about any subject.
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