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Temporary Stroke Risk After Drinking Coffee?

Study Suggests Coffee May Briefly Raise Stroke Risk

Second Opinion continued...

“While our study showed that there may be acutely increased risk of stroke in the hour following coffee intake, there is a vast literature on the beneficial effects of coffee on the risk of type 2 diabetes and no known long-term detrimental effects on cardiovascular disease. These findings suggest that habitual consumption may be healthy,” Mostofsky writes in an email to WebMD.

"We need further evidence to properly advise people about coffee intake, especially when other risk factors for stroke are present," writes Giancarlo Logroscino, MD, PhD, of the University of Bari, Italy, in an accompanying editorial.

"The big issue is that there may be something to this story, but controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stopping smoking is way more important for stroke prevention than stopping coffee," says Sahil Parikh, MD, a cardiologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

Coffee drinking pales in comparison to established stroke risk factors, Parikh says. But "if you have other risk factors of stroke, you may want to be cautious."

"The data is still inconclusive, and it is difficult to make public health proclamations from this one study," says Ralph L. Sacco, MD, president of the American Heart Association and the chair of neurology at the University of Miami in Florida. "There are so many other more important vascular risk factors."

Don't overact, he says.

Patrick Lyden, MD, the chair of the department of neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, says the jury is still out on caffeine as a risk factor for stroke. "This is one more study in a long line of studies on the health benefits and health risks of caffeine," he says. "This is completely different than cigarette smoking where study after study reported risks."

His advice? "Stay tuned. We don't have the final answer on caffeine and stroke risk yet."

A spokesman for a coffee trade group says coffee has been given a clean bill of health in most studies. “The vast body of research over many years has found no negative effects of coffee on cardiovascular health and, in fact, has shown many health benefits like protection against diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes and liver damage and cancer,” says Joe DeRupo, a spokesman for the National Coffee Association, a trade group representing the coffee industry.

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