Does caffeine affect blood pressure?
Coffee culture is an ever growing phenomena across the world, but it’s important to consider that the caffeine you’re drinking can affect your blood pressure. Indeed, if you’re going for blood pressure testing, it’s important to stop consuming caffeine in the two days leading up to the blood pressure test or it may lead to an incorrect diagnosis.
Indeed, the caffeine in coffee without a doubt can acutely increase blood pressure, but it’s important to note that decaffeinated coffee definitely does not. Caffeine seems to be a major factor in affecting blood pressure, and experts suggest that as such, it is also a trigger for cardiovascular events.
But it’s actually more complicated than that. It depends on how and how often you drink coffee…
So, what if you’re an occasional coffee drinker? How does that affect blood pressure?
The American Journal of Hypertension, in a recent research paper, found that patients who drink the occasional cup could be reducing the effect of medication for lowering blood pressure. In another piece of research, a team from Western University and Lawson Health Research Institute in Ontario, measured the effect of occasional coffee consumption on blood pressure, and especially how coffee consumption impacts the action of calcium channel blockers.
Calcium channel blockers are a medication used for the lowering of blood-pressure and are often prescribed for patients with hypertension since they relax and widen the blood vessels, making it easier for blood to flow and so reduce blood pressure. In this research, they wanted to find out what would happen to the blood pressure if a person abstained from caffeine long enough to eliminate the caffeine from the blood. Their theory was that they would record a higher blood pressure the next time a person drank coffee, because eliminating caffeine and then consuming it again could cancel out the pressure-lowering effects of felodipine.
The studies worked on the following basis:
- The sample study used 13 people with an average age of 52 with normal blood pressure.
- They carried out 3 tests separated in time by 1 week. Before each test, they consumed no coffee or caffeine-containing products for 48 hours.
- At intervals of a week, the participants then took 2 cups of 300ml of black, coffee and 10mg felodipine and then they had their blood pressure taken.
It must be pointed out that this was a very small test, but results showed that, after the participants avoided coffee for only 2 days, enough caffeine was eliminated from the body so that the next time they drank coffee, their blood pressure rose.
Combining coffee with felodipine led to higher levels of blood pressure than taking only felodipine. This could be because the caffeine blocks the positive effect of the drug on the blood vessels. The researchers said: "Even one cup of coffee containing a relatively low amount of caffeine remarkably compromised the anti-hypertensive effect of this drug at the maximum recommended dose. If you wanted to overcome the effect of the coffee, you had to double the dose of this anti-hypertensive drug which could increase the risk of unwanted excessive drug effects, particularly during the period when coffee is not consumed."
So, it’s important to consider about the effect of coffee just before visiting your doctor since it could complicate diagnosis and treatment. Indeed, the acute increase in blood pressure could lead to over-prescription of antihypertensive drugs. Decaf coffee can drunk to replace your coffee habit during this period.
So, what about if you’re a habitual coffee drinker?
About 15 to 20 percent of people who drink coffee do so only occasionally. But, if you’re one of the regular drinkers, then good news! People who consume caffeine regularly are not thought to face nearly as much of a risk because they develop a tolerance and the body is accustomed to caffeine. It may still be sensible to ease up on the coffee consumption though and perhaps drink some Swiss Water Decaf coffee to replace that late afternoon cup.