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Coffee May Lower Stroke Risk

Study: 1 or More Cups of Coffee a Day May Reduce Stroke Risk in Women

Coffee Does Not Raise Stroke Risk

“It is quite clear that coffee consumption at moderate to even high levels does not increase risk of stroke,” says Eric Rimm, ScD, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Recent studies have suggested that there may be a modest increase in stroke risk in the hour after coffee is drunk because of increased heart rate and blood pressure.

“Over the long run, the modest benefits on insulin sensitivity, reduced risk of diabetes, and many other benefits that may be in the coffee bean suggest in the long term there is limited risk and maybe even benefit for risk of stroke,” he says.

Roger Bonomo, MD, director of stroke care at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, says that giving up coffee to protect your health is not a good idea.

“Eliminating coffee isn’t good for your health,” he says. "Keep your coffee habits at a steady state."

Lower Stroke Risk by Targeting High Blood Pressure

It is too early to say whether anyone should drink more or less coffee to lower their stroke risk, says Cathy A. Sila, MD, the George M. Humphrey II Professor of Neurology and the director of the Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center at the Neurological Institute Case Medical Center of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio.

There are things that we can do today that we know will lower stroke risk, she says.

“The single most important risk factor for all stroke is high blood pressure, and the vast majority of people either don’t know they have it or know that they do and it is still not being controlled,” she says. “Get your blood pressure measured and if it is elevated, put a plan in place to lower it.” This may include losing weight, reducing salt intake, or taking medication.

“This is the most powerful thing we can do to lower stroke risk,” she says.

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