Coffee & Heart Disease

Drinking large amounts of coffee may be bad for those under-55, according to a recent study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. A multicenter research team investigated if coffee consumption effects mortality (death) from all causes and impacts deaths from cardiovascular disease. The Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study (ACLS no Advanced Cardiac Life Support) monitored more than 40,000 men and women for an average 16 years. Length of any medical study adds tremendous credibility given there are so so many variables effecting our health.MH900448673

Background: Coffee is third after tea and  water in the beverage consumed around the world. Some quote tea is second only to water but the point is Americans consume more than 500,000 million cups of coffee per day.

According to the latest National Coffee Drinking Study from the National Coffee Association, more than 60% of American adults drink coffee every day, consuming on average just more than 3 cups a day. Coffee has long been suspected to contribute to many chronic health issues. Earlier studies on if coffee consumption is related to deaths from all causes and deaths from coronary heart disease were limited, and  results often controversial. Hence attention to this ‘study’.

STUDY:  Survey format carried out by Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts of coffee drinkers internationally (inc. U.S., China, India and United Arab Emirates).

Details: Between 1979 and 1998, nearly 45,000 individuals aged between aged 20 and 87 years participated – returned a medical history questionnaire assessing lifestyle habits (including coffee consumption) and personal and family medical history.

Results:  A  number of coffee drinkers were willing to give up sex, alcohol and Facebook for a year to hold on to their caffeine fix. Those who consumed higher amounts of coffee (both men and women) were more likely to smoke and had lower levels of cardiorespiratory fitness.

– More than three-quarters of people surveyed said they would sacrifice sex; alcohol or social media web sites. When asked early AM sex versus coffee – 5% wanted coffee!

– Younger men had a trend toward higher mortality even at lower consumption, but this became significant at about 28 cups per week where there was a 56% increase in mortality from all possible causes.

– Younger women who consumed more than 28 cups of coffee per week also had a greater than 2-fold higher risk of all cause mortality than those who did not drink coffee.

Dr Lavie and colleagues found that those who reported drinking 28 or more cups of coffee per week had a 21% higher mortality during mean nearly 15 year follow-up, but this was increased by 56 % in men 55 years.

TAKE AWAY – 2 to 3 cups of java per day -MAX


Breast Milk – NOT Always Safe

Mothers may pass on dangers to infants through breast milk. Common over the counter (OTC) & prescription medications can be harmful to the infant. Not only medications that Mom might take to feel better but caffeine, alcohol  & marijuana are passed. DocHandal lets you know what is and is not safe for breastfeeding Moms to take. Listen UP! to her iTunes Channel get informed.

Poisoning in Children

Poisoning may be accidental or intentional— drugs (includes prescribed and street), chemicals, animal bites, plants, and household cleaners are all potential poisons. They can hurt or kill you! 90% percent of all potential poison exposures happen in the home. Children are the most common victims of accidental poisoning. Children age 0-5 make up 51% of all calls to poison centers (4.3million/yr), but they account for only 2 percent of the deaths. Cosmetics and personal care products are the leading substances this age group gets into.

Adolescents sometimes use poison to end their lives. Teens (13-19) show a higher rate of intentional poison exposures than other age group. 49% of teen poison exposures are intentional. The National Institute of Mental Health believes that as many as 25 suicides are attempted for each one that is completed. That means that for every teen suicide that you hear of, there are probably at least 25 suicide attempts made.

Students going back to school will use energy drinks to stay awake to study or party.

The caffeine content of these drinks is a lot more than a cup of coffee. Caffeine toxicity can easily and does occur. Athletics using these drinks actually have a diuretic response that is they will lose water the opposite effect of what they are trying to achieve-staying hydrated!

Know that a poison or toxin can affect  anyone through skin contact, injection, fumes by  Inhalation, or swallowing.  There are 60 Poison Help Center nationwide operating 24/7 and you can reach your local by dialing 1-800-222-1222 from anywhere. Remember, All questions about poisons are smart questions.



  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Headache
  • Altered consciousness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Local irritation at site of exposure (eye, skin, airway)


Do not rely solely on a container’s label for first aid information.

Do not force vomiting or give fluids to a child unless told to by a physician or the Poison HELP Center. Be sure the child is totally conscious beforehand.

Do not assume everyone wants to get well.

Don’t leave a child alone if attempted suicide is suspected.





Send someone to get medical help.

Protect yourself from exposure to the poison while administering first aid.

For poison in the eye: Don’t delay. Begin flushing immediately.

  • Hold the lids open and pour fresh water over eye or position under slowly running water.
  • Water should flow from the inner area of the eye next to the nose to the outer area, to avoid contamination of the other eye.
  • Flush for at least 20 continuous minutes before you go for medical attention. It is the duration not the amount of irrigating that is important.

Get medical attention for any chemical burns of the eyes.

For poison on the skin take off any clothing that the poison touched and rinse the skin with running water for 15-20 minutes.

For inhaled poison, move the child to fresh air right away.

Call Poison Help Center at 1-800-222-1222 for specific instructions. They will want to know:

  • Type of  poison
  • How exposed to poison
  • Age of child
  • Estimated amount and time occurred
  • Child’s condition
  • Follow Poison Help Center’s instructions!


 ©Copyright 2009-2016 DocHandal




A Woman’s Heart!

Let’s set  myths regarding the female heart straight! Test yourself and learn the truth, based on concrete medical data not emotions. Guys you can learn a lot about the TRUE female heart by reading below.

Q. Women commonly feel their heart racing during pregnancy.

A. TRUE! A significant number of cardiovascular changes occur during pregnancy, which may be accompanied by shortness of breath and a reduced tolerance for exercise. SO be understanding! During pregnancy, women expand their blood volume by approximately 30-50%. This is accompanied by an increase in output from the heart (cardiac output). The heart rate may also increase by 10-20 beats per minute. All changes peak in weeks 20-24 and usually completely resolves by 6 weeks after childbirth. Some EKG (electronic tracings) changes may occur, and some changes to the heart (cardiac) shadow (outline) can appear on a chest X-Ray. The following are most common:

  • Systolic blood pressure (top number or first number) can decreases 4-6 mm Hg.
  • Diastolic blood pressure (bottom, second number) can decreases 8-15 mm Hg.
  • Heart rate (pulse) increases 12-18 beats per minute.
  •  Cardiac output (heart work) increases 33-45%


Q. Are men over 65 more likely to get heart attacks than women over 65?

A. FALSE! Women constitute the majority of patients with coronary heart disease (CAD) in the elderly population, while men are the larger group under the age of 65 years. In patients aged 65 years or less, approximately 70–80% are male; between the ages 65 and 70, however the ratio is 50:50; in ages 70 to 80 years, 60% are female; and over the age of 80 years, 70% are female. Another key factor is that the elderly tend to have narrowing of multiple heart blood vessels as opposed to those under the age of 65. Single-vessel disease usually is seen at younger ages, but after the age of 65, the incidence of hardening of the arteries effects many of the heart’s blood vessels increases to 60–65%. Additionally, as we all  age, there is an increase in CAD, likelihood of congestive heart failure (CHF), and kidney (renal) problems.


Q. A Slow heart rate is better than fast?

A. TRUE! So strive to be calm lay off too much caffeine and all foods and activities that make you short of breath when you’ve a rapid pulse. First, WHAT IS FAST? Anything over 100 beats per minute (pulse) in the general population is considered ‘fast’, elevated’ or  increased’. Researchers in Japan who’ve been following a group of healthy women for 20 years report that those who had high heart rates at the start were twice as likely to become obese and they had a five times higher chance of  becoming diabetics.


Q. Use of oral contraceptive (OC) pills is safe for women of all ages?

A. FALSE! Newer generation OC formulations in use indicate no increased myocardial infarction risk for those taking them, however as was probable in old formulations of pills  there still is an  increased risk of clots in the veins (venous thrombo-embolism), of the legs and/or  lungs. Women 35 years and older should be assessed for cardiovascular risk factors including hypertension, smoking, diabetes, kidney disease, and other vascular diseases, including migraines, prior to use. Should you require surgery you must stop taking these pills a ways in advance, so be truthful with your physician.


©Copyright 2009 -2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited


April 13, 2021

New Platform for ‘Doc Handal Speaks! Listen Up’ Podcasts

iHeart Radio at 

App for your favorite music, radio, and podcasts, all free. Download and enjoy!

January 10, 2019

Quoted in ‘Lawyer + Settlements’  excerpt:

“LEVELS OF CARE Brianna’s care was billed as “Level 3” which means a health problem–such as fractures or signs of infection–is significant but not life threatening. Most hospitals are based on a five level triage system, with five being the most severe. Dr. Kathleen Handal explains that there are commonly three levels of ERs:

Level 1: Highest level ER, indicating the ability to give definitive, rapid care for all critical emergency situations; usually associated with a teaching hospital. Resources within the hospital (diagnostic and intensive care units) can continue to care for these patients. Level 1 trauma centers have an in-house trauma surgeon and on-call specialists available, as well as an open operating room. • Level 2: The ER can care for most emergencies. All specialties are on-call and available within 60 minutes; usually no residents on staff. Emergency medicine (EM) doctor cares for patient until back-up specialist responds to the request for assistance. In-hospital resources are limited. • Level 3: Treatment by EM doctors. Not all specialties available to come to ER to help. Patient will be stabilized and transported to an appropriate care facility. Trauma patients will be transferred to another hospital that is equipped to handle the trauma.”     376beb97-82dc-4839-bbca-522a9c411dfe

September 28, 2016

Wed., 9/28: your last chance to see a doctor present SEE INSIDER YOUR BODY to KidsRead 3rd graders

Hi there: As you may know, for the first time ever, KidsRead USA has asked area physicians to present its September book to the 720 third-graders of the Osborn and Balsz school districts. At 12:30 this Wednesday, Dr. Kathleen Handal, MD will be at Longview School to present SEE INSIDE YOUR BODY, an illustrated medical guide purchased through the generosity of the Whiteman Foundation. This is the last of the seven presentations held in September to celebrate KidRead’s 20th anniversary and National Literacy Month. You are invited to be our guest at this very special presentation. No need to RSVP, just show up, go to the office to sign in, and then join us in the library. Longview is at 1209 E. Indian School, entrance on 12th street, south of Indian School. It’s a great school. Mr. Benjamin Smith is the principal. You’ll enjoy the experience, I promise you. Call if you have any questions. Otherwise, see you there in a couple of days. It only lasts a half-hour so be there right at 12:30. I’ll see you there. if you can make it. Kind regards, Eileen Bailey KidsRead USA

March 15, 2016Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 11.16.09 AM

Panelist C. Schwab Women Investing Event Doc Handal participated as one of three women on a panel addressing financial empowerment in women. This professional session for Personal consultants concluded an all day event for over 150 employees of C. Schwab at the Hyatt Hotel, Phoenix AZ.


June 2, 2013

LinkedIn Recommendation “I am a writer and editor, and I had the great good fortune of working with Dr. Handal on the AMERICAN RED CROSS FIRST AID AND SAFETY HANDBOOK. After years of working in hospital emergency rooms, Doc Handal has an uncanny ability to immediately grasp all the different aspects of a medical situation. She cares so much about her patients that what she would really like to do is keep them OUT of the emergency room if at all possible! Her books are based on compassion and real-life experience.” Nellie Sabin, Freelance writer, and editor; book doctor, Newport, Rhode Island


NYAMNov.  2012

New York Academy Medicine Recognition Kathleen Handal, MD for 30 Years of Professional Endeavors     “In 1982 Dr. Handal became the first Emergency Medicine specialist to become a Fellow of the NYAM Dr. Kathleen Handal received her medical degree from the Drexel University College of Medicine (1971). She completed her Emergency Medicine internship and residency at Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (1978) and subsequently received board certification in Emergency Medicine. She served as an oral examiner for the American Board of Emergency Medicine for decades. Dr. Handal taught and practiced in the Emergency Department as Chief of Emergency Medicine at Long Island Jewish (NSLIJ) Hospital (11/79-5/85). She started the NSLIJ EM Residency Program. In 1985 she became Director, Emergency, at then Doctor’s Hospital, New York, NY She has had leadership roles at the national and local levels. As a member of the American College of Emergency Medicine (ACEP), she served on numerous national committees including Chair of EMS Committee. She represented the ACEP internationally and nationally; including at the AMA Commission on EMS and as a member of the Board of Director at the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Over the years, she has served on numerous federal grants involving EM/EMS, notably, she Chaired the New York City Trauma Center Designation, and definition of the national curriculum for pre-hospital care personnel – Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedic. “ 

March 2012                                                                                  

Reader’s Favorite Award 5 Stars to “Doc’s First Aid Guide”

“Simple, straight, and to-the-point, “Doc’s First Aid Guide” by Kathleen A. Handal, MD, is an easy-to-use reference book that you could keep handy in your glove compartment, a kitchen drawer, or your office desk drawer. She emphasizes that the steps taken during the first few minutes of a medical emergency situation are critical and suggests that people read this book BEFORE they need it. I think she is right. I am such a geek, I even read my car owner’s manual from cover to cover before driving the car. The formatting is logical and makes it very easy to instantly find the information you need for the type of emergency situation that you are experiencing. After the initial general information section, Dr. Handal provides the ABC’s of CPR, which everyone should learn how to administer, and then goes into the First Aid situations. I am so glad that you presented the information in alphabetical order as it makes it much easier to locate just what you need. The First Aid section covered topics from Allergic Reaction to Burns to Choking to Heat Exposure to Unconsciousness with dozens of topics in between. Last but not least, she includes emergency first-aid techniques, a first aid kit checklist, and an emergency information info sheet. There are good diagrams included throughout the guide that show the reader how to perform the first aid being described. I appreciate how she included both the “What To Do” boxes as well as the “Do Not” icons to help guide the reader in an emergency.” _______________________________________________________________________________

February 2012

Writers Unite To Fight Cancer

DocHandal will be one of the over 30 authors  at the Writers Unite to Fight Cancer Arizona Centennial Cancer Research Fundraiser to be  held Arizona Biltmore Hotel  Feb.2, 2012. Each guest will receive a complimentary gift bag that will include the book Five to Thrive. There will several items available for silent auction, and music will be provided by Jocelyn Obermeyer, certified therapeutic harp practitioner from Hospice of the Valley. Each author will donate $1.00 per book sold at this event toward the two Arizona-Based Cancer Research Programs designated as equal beneficiaries for this fundraiser. 1.) Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, collaboratively with Arizona State University under the direction of Robert Waters PhD. 2.) The University of Arizona Cancer Center natural product research program directed by Dr. Leslie Gunatilaka.


NAMC May 2010 Book Club Feature: Doc’s First Aid Guide

Reviewed by Sari Fine Shepphird, Ph.D. “As a healthcare professional I am always on the lookout for valuable resources that make a contribution to improving family health and safety, and I have recently made a discovery that I could not wait to recommend!  The Doc’s First Aid Guide by Kathleen A. Handal, M.D. is a must-have resource for every home, office, clinic, and community center.  In this invaluable e-book,  Handal, who also authored The American Red Cross First Aid and Safety Handbook, provides an easy to use, clear, and practical guide to first aid and safety that is among the best I have ever seen. What sets this resource from other first aid guides? First, the situational instructions are easy to follow.  No more trying to dissect instructions in order to understand what is really important in each safety situation.  Handal’s concise guide takes out all of the guess work, telling the reader exactly what to do and what not to do when first aid situations arise.  Second, helpful illustrations enhance written instructions, providing that extra measure of confidence for critical situations when clarity is imperative.  Third, the guide is organized so that the reader can find instructions quickly.  A poor layout in a first aid guide can certainly cause confusion, potentially leaving users feeling anxious in moments when calm is a necessity, but the exceptional clarity and organized presentation in Doc’s First Aid Guide allows the reader to feel at ease when accessing vital information, thus minimizing distractions and allowing for attention to be given to whatever medical emergency may be at hand.  Important issues such as Universal Precautions are included, along with reminders about CPR, first aid, and safety basics that make this an excellent go-to guide for training healthcare staff of all levels.  Parents, baby-sitters, and other care-takers will find this guide just as useful as will healthcare workers, teachers, coaches. Among the many recommendations we hear for what to include in an earthquake kit, first aid kit, or disaster response kit, there are some basics that are always included: a flashlight, batteries, 3 day supply of food and water, bandages, and a blanket. Let me add something else that every first aid kit should have – the Doc’s First Aid Guide!  From splinting, to suspected fume inhalation, from bites and burns to bleeding, from choking to chest pain, from heat exposure to heart attack; if you are looking for the perfect addition to every first aid kit, safety training protocol, and home/ office emergency guide, I can think of no better resource to include than the Doc’s First Aid Guide.” From the Doc’s First Aid Guide: “In this book you’ll find easy-to-follow instructions on how to help in the more common medical emergencies.  You’ll learn what to do and what not to do if you’re the first one on the scene.  So familiarize yourself with this material before an incident occurs.  And keep in mind that reading this information is no substitute for formal instruction and practice.  Not every possible medical emergency situation is presented in this guide.  Note: blue text within the document indicates topics you can easily reference from the Table of Contents.  Visit for more information about Doc’s First Aid Guide After spending 30 years in emergency medicine, Kathleen A. Handal, MD believes that a good dose of medical common sense is what’s needed to keep people healthy and safe. “Too often, the people who lack basic knowledge of how their bodies work come to the emergency department when they are in crisis with problems that should have been addressed sooner. As medical educators we can change this by providing correct medical information, starting at a young age,” says Handal”


National Association of Medical Communicators -NAMC-(February 2010)

Spotlight: Kathleen A. Handal, MD “Her website,, serves as a base for her many consumer education endeavors. Handal is a frequent host and co-host on talk-radio health shows. She has also appeared on CNN and the Today Show. Her medical emergencies in the workplace video won a bronze medal in the International Cindy Competition and was a Telly Award finalist. She has co-authored a series of ECG textbooks for Delmar Publishing. Handal was invited to become the first Emergency Medicine Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine where she remains involved. Along with providing information on her books and videos, her web site offers articles and quizzes for adults and children that are aimed at fine-tuning their medical commons sense. “Acting on and living in sync with our bodies can result in so many benefits throughout life. Ideally, we incorporate health knowledge about our changing bodies as we age so by adulthood we have a solid foundation of information and keen medical common sense.” As part of her dedication to public education, she wrote, directed and produced “Trauma Run”, a nationally distributed video for children in grades K2-6. The video, produced in Spanish and English, teaches children how to respond to a medical emergency when no adults are available. “We staged a bike accident in the desert outside of Phoenix. To help alleviate children’s fears about riding in an ambulance and being seen by a doctor in an emergency room, we attached a small camera to our young patient’s head so the kids viewing the program could see it from the perspective of the patient,” says Handal. Handal’s first book, “The American Red Cross First Aid & Safety Handbook“, (Little, Brown & Co. 1992) was written for the lay audience. The launch for this book included a multi-media publicity tour of ten major cities. “It was a great experience.  I was able to talk to a lot of people about the value of learning first aid,” says Handal. Her latest endeavor is the launch of Doc Handal Guides, an affordable series of medical books on topics written for laypersons. The first book in the series focuses on her emergency medicine expertise. Doc’s First Aid Guide (Spanish and English) outlines the steps a person should take in a variety of emergency situations.  E-versions (Kindle) are available through Amazon. A French version, written with Dr. Nicolas Dufeu, Director of Ambulatory Surgery, Sainte-Antione Hospital (Paris) will be available soon. “Doc’s Emergency Room Guide” is being written to help consumers gain optimal care during an emergency room visit. “I think it is important for people to understand what’s going on behind the scenes in a busy emergency room.  This book will help you ask the right questions at the right time,” says Handal. “Doc’s Home Care Guide” is also in the pipeline. This book covers a variety of home care topics but is unique because it is written by a doctor who put her own career on hold for five years to care for her ill father.  Handal shares the many hands-on strategies that she researched and developed. “Simple steps, like using wrist bands for seasickness to prevent nausea, helped a great deal.   Skin care is also a big issue. We never had any problems with bed sores because of the care plan I developed,” says Handal. Handal believes that comedy is also an excellent venue for teaching medical common sense. She enrolled in stand-up comedy classes and has performed in comedy clubs in the Phoenix area. “Doctor. Writer. Talk show host. Comedian.  I’ll do whatever it takes to get people to learn some medical common sense.” For more information on her work, visit”


realsimple3REAL SIMPLE (September 2009)

“Health Tests Demystified” ‘Mention all over-the-counter and prescription medications and supplements that you are take when scheduling as they can effect the results’…. ‘Avoid caffeine and decongestants before hand, as both can raise pressure. wear comfortable clothes and ideally layers or a sleeveless top for easy access to your arm’… during test: to minimize discomfort ask that blood be drawn form your non-dominant arm… “white coat hypertension” is a phenomenon of elevated blood pressure readings only when around medical personnel says expert Kathleen Handal emergency medicine physician.’

Be Smart

There’s a right way and a wrong way to take prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. All medications are chemicals designed to alter something that’s going on inside you. To make sure you’re getting the most from your medications:

  • Read the label and the accompanying pamphlets. It’s important to take your medication as directed, including OTC drugs. Pay particular attention to when and how to take your medications. Certain medications and foods taken together actually inactivate the medication. For example:

–  Did you know taking hormones within an hour of drinking caffeine can cancel   effects the medication would have had? – Newer ‘big’ gun’ antibiotics, like ciprofloxacin (Cipro)  and Avelox, are especially sensitive to being inactivated by other medications.   If you take vitamins, calcium, or anti-acids within two hours of taking certain antibiotics the antibiotic may not ‘kill’ your bacterial infection. Others like the Z pack need to be taken 2hours after meals or one hour before. These expensive infection fighting ’bullets’ won’t work for you unless you take them properly.

  • Know when it’s okay NOT to call the doctor. Some common illnesses, like the flu, can be dealt with without seeing a doctor. Oftentimes taking OTC medications and using common sense, like getting lots of rest and drinking plenty of fluids, is easier and cheaper than seeing a doctor.  Asking for advice from a pharmacist is also a smart option. They can be very helpful.
  • Keep a current list of your prescription and OTC medications, as well as any allergies. It’s smart to keep this list on you at all times. The list should include the dose you take and the time you take it, such as before meals or at hour of sleep. Make sure your pharmacist and health care professionals are aware of ALL the medications you take and when you take them.
  • Make sure you know what you are taking and why you are taking it. We all know that mistakes happen.  Check to ensure that what the doctor prescribed is what the pharmacist gives you. Does the medicine make sense for you? If not, don’t take it until you are sure. It’s your body so use common sense and take care of it!

©Copyright 2009 -2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited