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Drinking Sensibly

Alcohol and Stroke

How many units are in your favourite drink?

Alcohol and Stroke

Drinking too much alcohol regularly can increase your blood pressure and also increase your risk of stroke as well as being bad for your health in general.

Binge drinking is a major risk factor, increasing the chance of stroke by five times. However, drinking a small amount of alcohol each day is perfectly safe for people after TIA or stroke.  

The safe limits recommended by experts are:

  • No more than 3 units of alcohol a day for women
  • No more than 4 units of alcohol a day for men

Don't 'save up' your units – space your drinking over the week.

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How many units are in your favourite drink?

The number of units of alcohol in a drink depends on the strength (ABV – alcohol by volume) and the volume of the drink.  If it's twice the strength or twice the size then it contains twice the number of units.  For example, a 440ml can of standard strength beer contains approximately 2 units of alcohol, a small 125ml glass of wine contains approximately 1½ units and a small 25ml measure of spirits contains approximately 1 unit.   

Don't forget.  The measure you pour at home will be bigger (often a lot bigger) than a pub measure.

Helpful hints if you want to cut down your drinking:

  • Tell people you trust about your decision to cut down
  • Keep a count of how much you are drinking over the week
  • Set yourself a limit to stay below
  • Try new social activities that don't involve alcohol

and if you are drinking:

  • Take smaller sips
  • Space your drinks with non-alcoholic drinks
  • Dilute drinks well with non-alcoholic mixers
  • Avoid buying in rounds if this encourages you to drink more quickly

If you feel you need help to cut down ask your practice nurse or GP for advice. 

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