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Liquor shops open amidst lockdown: Beware! Too much alcohol may increase stroke risk

Higher alcohol consumption can lead to a 27 per cent increase in stroke incidence, says a new study. ©Shutterstock

Researchers say heavy alcohol consumption may increase your risk of having a stroke or developing peripheral artery disease (PAD). You know drinking is a bad habit, but still struggling to quit it? We understand that it is easier said than done. But these tips may definitely help you overcome your alcohol addiction.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : May 12, 2020 9:06 AM IST

The ministry of home affairs last week relaxed lockdown restrictions and allowed liquor shops to re-open across the country. While the ministry instructed people to follow social distancing while purchasing liquor, commotion erupted outside many liquor shops across cities as scores of people thronged to get the booze.

There has been a spike in the number of people suffering from alcohol withdrawal symptoms post the lockdown. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome may occur when a heavy drinker drastically reduces or stops their alcohol intake. Reports of deaths and suicides related to alcohol withdrawal have also surfaced following the closure of liquor shops due to lockdown. Therefore, some people welcome the government's decision to re-open liquor shops amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. But others argue that it could lead to increase in domestic violence.

Heavy alcohol consumption linked to stroke risk

Amidst this debate, a new research has warned that heavy alcohol consumption may increase risk of having a stroke or developing peripheral artery disease (PAD). The findings were published in the Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine Journal Report.

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The research team analysed the genetic data from several large-scale consortia and the UK Biobank, which follows the health and well-being of 500,000 UK residents.

They found that higher alcohol consumption was associated with a three-fold increase of peripheral artery disease, a narrowing of arteries that results in reduced blood flow, usually to the legs. The study results also indicated that higher alcohol consumption can lead to a 27 per cent increase in stroke incidence. Blood pressure is believed to be the mechanism leading to higher risk of stroke and PAD in heavy drinkers.

How to Overcome Alcohol Addiction

Your liver helps flush out toxin of your body. But if you drink too much alcohol too fast, your liver may not be able to do its job well. Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to serious health problems. Higher alcohol consumption is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, digestive problems, and certain cancers. We understand that overcoming alcohol addiction isn't a simple process. So, here are some tips to help you quit drinking.

  • Make a list of the reasons why you want to quit drinking such as to improve your health or your relationships. This can motivate you to stay away from alcohol.
  • Set a limit on how much you will drink in a day or week. For women and men ages 65 and older, the recommended amount is no more than one standard drink per day. Men under 65 should not have more than two standard drinks per day. But try to keep your drinking below this recommended level.
  • Do not keep alcohol in your house, this may help control your craving.
  • Drink slowly and never drink on an empty stomach.
  • Mark alcohol-free days in the calendar. Try to abstain drinking for a day or two each week. If you can, avoid it for a week or a month to see how you feel physically and emotionally when you stop drinking.
  • Learn to avoid peer pressure. Say no politely if your friends offer you a drink. If you can't do it, stay away from people who encourage you to drink.
  • Keep yourself busy with things you love to do, be it sports, watching movie, playing a musical instrument or any other hobby.

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