Alcohol is still linked to cancer, high blood pressure and other types of strokes / instants/iStock

But alcohol is still linked with hemorrhagic strokes, cancer, high cholesterol and high blood pressure

People who drink one or two glasses of alcohol per day are less likely to suffer the most common type of stroke, a controversial study has found.

Light and moderate alcohol consumption, classed as up to two drinks per day, is associated with a 9 per cent reduced risk in suffering an ischemic stroke.

Women who drink just one glass or less of alcohol per day were 12 per cent less at risk.

But the research, published in the BMC Medicine journal on Wednesday, admits that alcohol consumption is still associated with high cholesterol levels and hemorrhagic strokes.

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"Previous research has found an association between alcohol consumption and lower levels of fibrinogen; a protein in the body which helps the formation of blood clots,” said lead author Dr Susanna Larsson.

“While this may explain the association between light to moderate alcohol consumption and lower ischemic stroke risk, the adverse effect of alcohol consumption on blood pressure, a major risk factor for stroke, may increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke and outweigh any potential benefit.”

Dr Larsson, from the Karolinska Institutet near Stockholm, who conducted the research with the University of Cambridge, had a total sample of 18,289 ischemic stroke cases, 2,299 intracerebral haemorrhage cases and 1,164 subarachnoid haemorrhage cases.

Stroke day

An ischemic stroke is caused by a blocked brain artery and account for about 88 per cent of all strokes.

Roughly 150,000 Britons suffer a stroke each year.

A seperate study recently linked beer consumption and good cholesterol.

The research assessed men and women from the US, Europe and Asia, and assessed their differing drinking habits.

It found that the risk of ischemic strokes was 9 per cent less among those who drank two or one glasses of alcohol per day.

For men alone, it appeared they were 6 per cent less likely to suffer the stroke.

Women who drank as much as two glasses per day saw no decreased risk of stroke, but those who drank just one glass, had a 12 per cent decreased risk.

One glass was classed as 1.5 units of alcohol.

Dr Larsson admits the topic is divisive, and writes: “Whether light-to-moderate alcohol consumption is protective against stroke, and whether any association differs by stroke type, is controversial.”

Alcohol consumption is also associated with raised blood pressure and cancer.