Regularly drinking large amounts of alcohol greatly increases your risk of stroke.


Drinking too much alcohol raises your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is too high, it puts a strain on your arteries and heart, which can lead to stroke.

Binge drinking is when you drink a large amount of alcohol in a short space of time. This is particularly dangerous as it can cause your blood pressure to rise very quickly. 

Drinking too much alcohol can also lead to problems with diabetes, atrial fibrillation and being overweight. It also damages your liver.

Limits for drinking alcohol

As a general rule, the Department of Health says that men and women should not drink more than 14 units per week. You should avoid drinking a lot in a single session. 

Because alcohol has a toxic effect on your body, doctors recommend that you should have two or three alcohol-free days a week, to help it recover.

Even if you’re within the recommended limits, you shouldn’t ‘binge drink’. Binge drinking is when you drink a large amount of alcohol in a short space of time.

Watch this video from Drinkaware to find out more about units of alcohol

How can I cut down?

First of all you need to work out how many units you’re drinking. You can find out by keeping a ‘drinks diary’.

For a couple of weeks, at the end of each day, make a note of what you drank and count up the units. There are lots of websites and phone apps that can help you do this. NHS Choices has a range of tools and trackers that can help you.

If you find that you are regularly drinking more than the recommended amount, you need to start cutting down. Speak to your GP or practice nurse for help and support.

Find out more

For more information on alcohol and stroke, and a guide to how to work out how many units you’re drinking, read our Alcohol and stroke factsheet.