In the study of 11,644 middle-aged Swedish twins who were followed for 43 years, researchers compared the effects of an average of more than two drinks daily (“heavy drinking”) to less than half a drink daily (“light drinking”).
The study found that heavy drinkers had about a 34 per cent higher risk of stroke compared to light drinkers.
Researchers found that mid-life heavy drinkers were likely to have a stroke five years earlier in life irrespective of genetic and early-life factors.
Heavy drinking increased stroke risk during mid-life more than any other risk factor, but blood pressure and diabetes became more significant at around age 75.
Past studies have shown that alcohol affects stroke risk, but this is the first study to pinpoint differences with age.
Researchers then sorted the data based on stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and other cardiovascular incidents.
Among identical twin pairs, siblings who had a stroke drank more than their siblings who hadn’t had a stroke, suggesting that mid-life drinking raises stroke risks regardless of genetics and early lifestyle.