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Anyone for coffee?

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New research suggests drinking more than four cups of coffee a day could decrease your chance of stroke.

For as long as anyone can remember, coffee has been the saviour of the student. From attempting to get to those nine am lectures, to kicking out that awful hangover, the warm hit of caffeine has been an elixir of life.

Yet in the midst of the ‘clean eating’ trend and various other diets, coffee and other caffeinated drinks have been labelled as bad because of the caffeine that they contain. And when you consider the jitters, headaches, fatigue and even caffeine withdrawal that come from excessive consumption, it’s not hard to see why. However, various studies have been conducted that could give coffee a better reputation- it may be that drinking coffee could reduce the risk of stroke.

There are 2 major types of stroke, the first being ischemic, which is caused by blood clots in an artery to the brain or a narrowing of the arteries, and is accountable for 80% of strokes. The second type is haemorrhagic stroke, where an artery in the brain bursts. This can be further classified into intracerebral (blood leaks into the brain) and subarachnoid (bleeding under the outer membranes of the brain and into the surrounding fluid-filled space).

A greater percentage of these patients showed preserved activity and autonomy when compared to patients receiving classical stroke treatment.

According to a study on male Finnish smokers, drinking four to five cups of coffee per day can reduce the risk of stroke by 12%, and drinking six or more cups can reduce it by 23%. This association was extended to women too, showing significant reduction in the risk of total stroke, cerebral infarction and subarachnoid haemorrhage. More studies showed that the effects of coffee on reducing stroke risk were greater in those who have never smoked, or who used to in the past – 43% risk reduction upon drinking four cups of coffee per day -and that drinking other caffeinated beverages like tea and some soft drinks doesn’t have the same effect as drinking coffee (handy news for all of you pulling all-nighters, right?).

The effect of caffeine seems also to benefit in the treatment of a stroke. An injection of caffeinol- a mixture including approximately 8-9mg/kg of caffeine, equivalent to 5-7 cups of coffee, and 0.3-0.4g/kg of ethanol – was administered to 10 stroke patients. A greater percentage of these patients showed preserved activity and autonomy when compared to patients receiving classical stroke treatment. However, these results do await further validation.

…this information could then be used to help tackle the increased number of strokes occurring due to an ageing population in the developed world.

According to the World Health Federation, 15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke each year. Of this figure, nearly 6 million people die as a result of their stroke, and nearly 5 million are left permanently disabled, making stroke the second leading cause of disability after dementia. If the association between a long-term, moderate consumption of coffee and the limitation of both the risk and the consequences of suffering a stroke is consistent, this information could then be used to help tackle the increased number of strokes occurring due to an ageing population in the developed world.

On that note, anyone for coffee?

 

 

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