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People who have three or more alcoholic drinks a day may have a higher risk of stroke at a much younger age, compared with those who don’t drink heavily, a new study suggests.

The French study included 540 people who had suffered a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain, HealthDay reports. One-quarter of participants had three or more drinks a day. These heavy drinkers had a stroke at an average age of 60. In contrast, those who didn’t drink heavily had a stroke at an average age of 74.

Participants younger than 60 who had a stroke that occurred in the deep part of the brain were more likely to die within two years of the study follow-up, compared with those who did not drink heavily.

“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,” study author Dr. Charlotte Cordonnier said in a journal news release.

The study appears in Neurology.

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