Study finds just one drink a day increases stroke risk

A new study has shown even one drink a day can increase your risk of having a stroke.

Chinese and UK researchers assessed 500,000 Chinese people for 10 years and say not only are their findings relevant to all populations, they are the best evidence yet on the effects of alcohol.

They found one or two drinks per day increased stroke risk by 10 to 15 percent.

Four drinks a day increased the risk by 35 percent.

One drink was defined as a small glass of wine, a bottle of beer or one measure of spirits.

The study, published in The Lancet, contradicts previous research that claimed drinking small amounts of alcohol can be beneficial.

"It strongly suggests that there is no cardiovascular benefit of light drinking and that risk of stroke increases even with moderate light alcohol consumption," University of Cambridge professor, Dr Stephen Burgess told BBC.

 "Risk of stroke increases proportionally with the amount of alcohol consumed, so if people do choose to drink, then they should limit their alcohol consumption."

The study of Chinese people is beneficial as many people with Chinese ancestry have a combination of genes that discourages them from drinking alcohol.

One in three men don't drink and very few women do.

By comparing the health outcomes of drinkers and non-drinkers according to their genetic makeup scientists have been able to assess the risk with more certainty than they could with a Western population.