The Stroke Association is warning the public of the dangers of binge drinking and how it can increase your risk of brain damage from a stroke.

The warning comes at the start of Brain Awareness Week 2008. Binge drinking can raise blood pressure to dangerously high levels and is a major risk factor for stroke. A stroke is a brain attack; it happens when the blood supply is cut to the brain causing brain cells to die and results in brain damage. Stroke is the UK's third biggest killer and if it doesn't kill it could leave you paralyzed, unable to talk, walk and/or incontinent.

People who binge drink (consume six or more units at a single sitting) are twice as likely to have a stroke than non-drinkers. Yet, worryingly an estimated 60% of people are not aware that stroke can be a consequence of binge drinking. Current government statistics indicate that 18% of men and 8% of women drank more than 8 units and 6 units respectively, on at least one day in the previous week.

Despite this only 25% of people questioned in a survey said that they would reduce their alcohol intake to help reduce their risk of stroke. The number of people, who already do so, was only slightly higher at 31%.

These figures are of some concern, especially given that heavy intermittent drinking is a feature of many peoples social lives in the UK and young people are more inclined to consume more than twice the recommended sensible drinking limit. Joe Korner, Director of Communications at The Stroke Association said:

"Stroke can be a devastating condition and can affect anyone, of any age at any time. By binge drinking you are increasing your risk of stroke and leaving yourself vulnerable to serious consequences such as long term disability or even death. Therefore The Stroke Association is urging the public, not just for Brain Awareness Week, but for the whole year round to exercise control over the amount of alcohol they are consuming."


1. The Stroke Association conducted a survey on binge drinking across the UK. 1909 people were surveyed between 19-22 November 2004. Markettiers4DC carried out the survey on behalf of The Stroke Association.

2. The Stroke Association is the only UK wide charity solely concerned with combating stroke in people of all ages. The charity funds research into prevention, treatment, better methods of rehabilitation and helps stroke patients and their families directly through its community services, welfare grants, publications and leaflets. The Stroke Association also campaigns, educates and informs to increase knowledge of stroke at all levels of society acting as a voice for everyone affected by stroke.

3. A stroke is a brain attack which causes brain damage. A stroke can be diagnosed using FAST - Facial weakness, Arm weakness, Speech problems, Test all three. If any of these symptoms are present call an ambulance straight away.

4. The Stroke Helpline provides information on stroke to the general public and is open between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday on 0845 3033 100

The Stroke Association

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