Coffee is one of the world’s most beloved beverages. In fact, people across the globe consume close to 8.6 billion kg annually. If you’re a coffee drinker, you’re probably well acquainted with the “coffee buzz” that arrives not long after those first few sips. However, there has been some debate as to whether regular coffee consumption is really, especially in light of its impact on blood pressure and heart health.
Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, which means that it decreases the size of blood vessels and can raise blood pressure. Caffeine exerts its effects by interacting with different receptors in the brain. Experts believe that other compounds in coffee, such as antioxidants, have a protective effect on blood vessels.
Caffeine may cause a short, but dramatic increase in your blood pressure, even if you don’t have high blood pressure. It’s unclear what causes this spike in blood pressure. The blood pressure response to caffeine differs from person to person.
Some researchers believe that caffeine could block a hormone that helps keep your arteries widened. Others think that caffeine causes your adrenal glands to release more adrenaline, which causes your blood pressure to increase.
Some people who regularly drink caffeinated beverages have a higher average blood pressure than do those who drink none. Others who regularly drink caffeinated beverages develop a tolerance to caffeine. As a result, caffeine doesn’t have a long-term effect on their blood pressure.
Relation between coffee and hypertension
Coffee stimulates the nervous system, increasing alertness. But many people are sensitive to even one cup of coffee, making them feel jittery or interfering with sleep. The circulatory effects of coffee are more complex than they seem.
Most doctors advise people to avoid coffee (and other sources of caffeine) before they have their blood pressures checked. It’s standard advice based on the notion that caffeine raises the blood pressure enough to interfere with an accurate measurement. But medical research has been murky; some studies support a link between coffee drinking and hypertension, but others do not. A 1987 Italian investigation suggests that coffee may even help to reduce blood pressure.
A study which was recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, looked at more than 6,570 men and more than 12,000 women, ages 40 to 79 years at the start of the research.
During nearly 19 years of follow-up, researchers documented 842 cardiovascular-related deaths Their analysis found drinking two or more cups of coffee a day was associated with twice the risk of cardiovascular disease death in people with severe hypertension than those who didn’t drink coffee.
They also found drinking one cup of coffee a day wasn’t associated with an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease across all blood pressure categories.
On the other hand, consuming green tea, which also contain caffeine, albeit in smaller amounts, wasn’t associated with an increased risk of mortality across any blood pressure categories.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, happens when the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels is consistently too high, making the heart work harder to pump blood.
It’s measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Anything 130/80 mm Hg or higher is considered high blood pressure.
Researchers said that coffee may help reduce the risk of developing chronic illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Coffee’s beneficial effects may center around its anti-inflammatory effects including reduction in oxidative stress on the blood vessels, improved insulin sensitivity, and inhibition of stomach absorption of fat.
Researchers also added that the group with severe hypertension may be at greater risk simply because they cannot tolerate even a short time further increase in blood pressure that caffeine might cause.
It should be noted that caffeine causes a temporary increase in blood pressure because of its brief vasoconstrictive effect. This means that when caffeine is consumed, blood vessels become constricted (narrowed), and blood pressure increases for a period of time.
Caffeine also raises blood pressure by triggering your adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline. Adrenaline causes your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to narrow, which leads to an increase in blood pressure.
Most people experience a spike in their blood pressure within 30 minutes to an hour of consuming caffeinated beverages.The change in blood pressure is temporary and will usually return to normal after 3-4 hours.