Could drinking Coffee help to prevent a stroke
Tabloids including the Daily Mail and the Daily Express have reported that drinking two cups of coffee every day may cut your risk of suffering a stroke. The reports are based on an analysis of the health benefits of coffee carried out by the Karolinska Institute, a Swedish medical university. However, health authorities and dental insurance providers have expressed some doubts about the reliability of the report.
According to the Swedish report, based on a comprehensive analysis of the health benefits of coffee, including a review of 11 previous studies, those who drink a moderate amount of coffee (between two and six cups per day) were at a lower risk of having a stroke than people who drank none.
On the surface the study is well conducted, but several important limitations should be taken into account. There were several major differences between the individual studies, and the participants were only asked about their coffee consumption once, at the start of the study. After this they were followed for up to twenty years. There have been many studies into the health effects of regular coffee consumption, and although there is evidence of an association between coffee and stroke risks, it does not confirm that coffee actively reduces the risk of suffering a stroke.
It should also be taken into account that excessive coffee consumption over a long period of time can pose many significant health risks that could outweigh any potential benefits. The cardiovascular effects of drinking coffee can cause high blood pressure and place you at greater risk of a heart attack. Because coffee acts as a stimulant, it can also be a cause of disrupted sleep patterns and in some cases might aggravate existing sleep problems such as insomnia. It is also a mild diuretic, meaning that it can speed up the urination cycle. This can cause calcium loss, which in cases of heavy long-term caffeine use could speed up the development of osteoporosis.
It is not uncommon for the mainstream media to jump on studies such as this to create headlines, but in actual fact the Karolinska report concluded that the association between moderate coffee consumption and reduced stroke risk was weak. The report did find that consuming coffee in moderation is unlikely to increase your risk of stroke, but it did not find enough evidence to suggest that non-coffee drinkers would be generally better off if they started.
If you feel you may be at risk of suffering a stroke for any reason, the best thing you can do is go for regular medical check-ups. Early identification of any problems is far more likely to prevent or limit the damage caused by a cerebral hemorrhage. If you find that the costs of non-emergency medical care such as scans and medication are preventing you from protecting yourself as much as you’d like, a medical insurance plan could help you to claim cash back for everyday services. Many medical insurance providers offer low-cost packages that are individually tailored to your needs and budget.
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