Alcohol Abuse & Heart Disease: Alcohol is Major Risk Factor
Medical researchers say moderate to heavy drinking can boost the risk of heart attacks or strokes. Meanwhile, older Americans who smoke have a double risk of suffering from small, unnoticed "silent" strokes than nonsmokers.
Writing in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, Austrian scientists say drinking more than two glasses of wine or two bottles of beer daily presents a "prominent risk factor" for developing atherosclerosis. The risk, researchers say, may even be greater than that presented by heavy smoking.
A North Carolina study appearing in the journal says older people who smoke face the risk of small, silent strokes as well as major strokes. Researchers say that while the small strokes may appear in somewhat "unimportant" brain areas, the long-term effects of such attacks hasn't been analyzed.
High blood pressure along with smoking were both associated with doubling the odds of suffering such silent attacks, and the occurrence may be as high as 11 percent among people aged 55 to 70 years.