Dr.Karol, MD

The doctor with alternative solutions


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Coffee: How much is too much? Is it even healthy?

The debate over health benefits of drinking coffee is seemingly never ending. As with most things in life, when it comes to how much is too much coffee there are a variety of factors to consider. Everybody metabolizes coffee and caffeine in different ways and at different rates. Thus, what is too much for one person may be just fine for another. Another factor to consider is the state of mind and body at any given time: Are you an anxiety-prone individual? If so, 5 cups of coffee in one day may be too much.  Are you super sleepy because of rainy weather? Then 3 cups may be just fine. Are you dehydrated and exhausted from a long trip? In that case, even one cup may be very unhealthy..

latte art

 

 

Coffee comes with both desirable and undesirable affects. The good is that it contains flavonoids that are also found in fruits and vegetables. These are anti-oxidants that protect our body from damage caused by pollutants and bad diet. However, coffee is not the richest source of flavonoids to say the least. It’s a similar story with red wine. Yes it contains resveratrol that protects the heart but to get that effect you must drink 5 to 10 glasses of wine a day and by doing so you are causing way more damage due to alcohol. The actual caffeine content also plays a major role. When in low amounts it increases wakefulness, mental acuity, better mood etc. But in higher amounts it causes lack of long term memory retention, anxiety, and increased blood pressure. Caffeine is also a diuretic. This can also be good or bad. In general it’s not a good thing because it depletes your body of fluid (including electrolytes). But on the other hand if you have excessive fluid retention in your body (such as after a long exhausting trip (usually causing retention in your legs due to compromised kidney function) then it may actually relieve the work load on the heart due to the excessive fluid.

coffee at the office

Another thing about coffee is that it irritates the lining of the stomach. This may cause cramps, acidity, and a general unpleasant feeling in the stomach. There is great variation among individuals with respect to this phenomenon. Some people don’t suffer this at all, while others have to stay away from caffeine entirely.

This brings us back to the original question: How many cups is too many? Like mentioned before it all depends on the individual and the state of body and mind she or he is in at the moment. However, generally speaking, 4 cups each day or more is more than enough before we develop long term rise in blood pressure, which is an extremely undesirable effect. Increased blood pressure can cause damage to all organs of the body and most notoriously the heart, the kidneys and the brain.

fresh coffee groundsFinally, always remember fresh ground, organic coffee is much healthier than instant. Instant coffee is typically exposed to various chemicals to make it an “instant” option (however, there are healthy instant coffee alternatives. It’s also typically much more irritating to the stomach. The best options are fresh, high-quality whole beans, or freshly ground beans coming from the purest sources.

 

See you next time.

 

Dr. Karol

 


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Every Second Counts: Cardiac Arrest and CPR

Cardiac arrest refers to the total cessation of heart activity, usually caused by a heart attack, i.e., by a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart due to cholesterol plaques.

I recently posted a link on my Facebook page about new research that was done on patients who underwent cardiac arrest in a hospital setting. The hospital setting is obviously the best place to have a heart attack due to the availability of trained staff and proper resuscitation equipment.

CPR Saves Lives

When a heart attack happens outside of the hospital, the chances of survival drop by 20% with each passing minute without Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). This is why it is so crucial to know the basics of CPR and perform this emergency procedure — even on strangers — while awaiting an ambulance. By the way, calling an ambulance is the first step in the CPR procedure. A lot of people that know and begin CPR forget about this because of all the commotion and the seriousness of the situation. They go into the procedure immediately because they want to save a life, but overlook calling the ambulance.

Performing CPR until an ambulance arrives triples the chances of survival. Here are some other interesting stats:

  • 88% of cardiac arrests occur outside of the hospital.
  • Out of this 88%, only 37% involve CPR from a bystander.
  • The person requiring CPR will most likely be a loved one or a co-worker.

What to Do

The rules are simple: Someone who is lying on the ground not breathing needs CPR. CPR continues to benefit the patient even if it is performed for more than 40 minutes.

The procedure is simple:

  1. Tilt the head back (when the patient is on their back flat on the ground) and lift the chin.
  2. Pinch the nose and give two breaths mouth to mouth.
  3. Then start chest compressions right in the middle of the chest. Do them deep and strong. If you break the ribs, don’t worry. This means that you are performing the procedure correctly. Ribs can be reattached easily after the patient arrives in the hospital.
  4. There are 10 compressions for every two breaths. It is as simple as that.

There are only two exceptions. One is when the patient has vomit in his mouth (e.g., in the case of a heroin overdose). In this case, he or she needs to be turned on the side so the vomit can exit the mouth. If you are not too grossed out, you can help get the vomit out with your hand. Do not perform CPR until the mouth is clear. Another exception is when the person has blood in his mouth. In this case, you risk contracting HIV or another communicable disease. It’s your call. Is it a loved one whom you know does not have HIV, or is it an unknown heroin user?

In my next blog, I will talk about the research that has shown that people experience an out of body experience during cardiac arrest. I meant to talk about that today, but got a little side-tracked by CPR because of my physician training. Once I get started on a life saving procedure, I have to finish it. It’s too important.

And by the way, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Dr. Karol

For more sage advice from Dr. Karol and for natural health product recommendations, visit vitarock.com