Caffeine and High Blood Pressure

Posted by administrator Friday, October 3, 2008

Does drinking too much caffeine raise your blood pressure? One might automatically think that it does, but you may be surprised to learn more.

What Is Caffeine and Where Does It Come From?

Caffeine is a mild stimulant found in coffee, tea, most soft drinks, and even chocolate.
While caffeine is a stimulant similar to cocaine and methamphetamine, caffeine is so much milder that they can't really be compared. But since tea and coffee are the most popular drinks and millions of people suffer from high blood pressure, several studies have been done to try to determine if caffeine has detrimental effects on the heart.

How Does Caffeine Affect Your Blood Pressure?

It has been shown that drinking caffeine can cause a short term rise in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Many scientists believe that this short term burst is a direct result of caffeine contributing to constricting blood vessels.

However, the studies on caffeine and long-term effects on high blood pressure are a bit less conclusive. In men, a study found that some that drank beverages with caffeine on a regular basis did have a wider range of blood pressure - in essence, their blood pressure fluctuated when they drank caffeine. But it seemed that the more caffeine they drank, the less their blood pressure fluctuated. It was almost as if their bodies became used to the caffeine and it had a lesser effect the more they drank. On the other hand, other men's blood pressure remained normal whether they drank caffeine or not.

A study in women concerning caffeine and high blood pressure showed about the same results - with one interesting fact. Women drinking caffeinated soft drinks showed an increase in blood pressure, while women drinking caffeinated coffee did not have the same results. In fact, it seemed that some women who drank caffeinated coffee actually had lower blood pressure.

The Verdict on Caffeine and High Blood Pressure

So what can we learn from these studies? Well, it seems that the relationship between caffeine and high blood pressure is still a little fuzzy. But we can still pull out some healthy information. Since the studies indicate that caffeine effects different people in different ways, doctors recommend that you limit your daily caffeine consumption to 200 milligrams - about what you would find in two 12-ounce cups of coffee. Also, since caffeine has been proven to raise blood pressure in the short-term, you should not consume caffeine before activities that naturally increase your blood pressure - activities such as exercise, physical labor, or sex.

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Christopher M. Hall enjoys writing about health topics. He wants to help you be more healthy!

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