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Heavy drinkers face a higher risk of experiencing stroke than non-drinkers, researchers from the University of Lille Nord de France have found.

"Heavy drinking has been consistently identified as a risk factor for this type of stroke, which is caused by bleeding in the brain rather than a blood clot," said Charlotte Cordonnier, researcher at the University of Lille Nord de France in Lille, France. "Our study focuses on the effects of heavy alcohol use on the timeline of stroke and the long-term outcome for those people."

The discovery was made while analysing the data of 540 people with an average age of 71 who had a type of stroke called intracerebral hemorrhage.

Researchers interviewed the participants and their relatives about the participants' drinking habits. The survey found that about 137 people, or 25 percent, were heavy drinkers, which was defined as having three or more drinks per day, or about 1.6 ounces per day of "pure" alcohol.

Researchers took CT brain scans of the participants and also analysed the patients' medical records.

The study found that heavy drinkers are likely to have experienced a stroke earlier than non-heavy drinkers, according to the findings published in Neurology journal.

The study claims that heavy drinkers are more likely to die within two years of the study follow-up than non-heavy drinkers.

Previous studies have found that heavy drinking or binge drinking causes high blood pressure, liver disease, neurological damage, sexual dysfunction and several cardiac problems. The new study has found that heavy drinking also causes stroke.

"It's important to keep in mind that drinking large amounts of alcohol contributes to a more severe form of stroke at a younger age in people who had no significant past medical history," said Cordonnier.