What Does the Science Say? Taking an Evidence-Based Look at the Impact of Caffeine on Blood Pressure
The debate on whether or not caffeine is healthy for you has raged on for quite a while. One element that people are especially concerned about, though, is the effect of caffeine on blood pressure. More specifically, is there an actual impact? And if so, is it a positive or negative one?
Well, this is a question that scientists and doctors alike have been asking for a while now. While certain health benefits of coffee are obvious, others aren’t as much.
Thus, to get a more well-defined answer, you are going to need to understand what modern experts are saying.
So, on this note, let’s take a look at what some of the newer scientific evidence concludes on the impact of caffeine on blood pressure.
This is a guest post for highbloodpressurebegone.com by Allison Jones of CoffeeUrban.com.
Does Caffeine Raise Blood Pressure?
Caffeine gives you a jolt of energy – this is why many people drink a cup of coffee or tea in the morning or when they are feeling tired. Thus, it would be natural to assume that caffeine does, in fact, cause your blood pressure to rise. So, does the science hold up and if so, just how high does your blood pressure get?
Since there is already quite a lot of information on caffeine and blood pressure, some Swiss and American scientists decided to take a different look at things. For their experiment, they choose individuals without any hypertension issues. Of these, only six drank coffee regularly.
However, what really made this experiment stand out was that the scientists ran different scenarios with the participants. At different times during the experiment, the participants were independently given:
- triple espresso
- decaffeinated triple espresso
- 250mg of caffeine via IV
- a placebo
So, what did the results show?
Well, interestingly enough, blood pressure levels didn’t rise for all participants! Non-coffee drinkers experienced an increase in systolic pressure readings on average by 13 mm Hg and diastolic pressures by 7 mm Hg. Habitual coffee drinkers, however, didn’t show any changes.
A different study conducted in 2016, gathered a total of 1329 participants. The individuals were between the ages of 20 and 60. Also, 13.5 percent of the participants were already diagnosed with high blood pressure.
In this study, the results were a little different. It appeared that caffeine didn’t have any impact on diastolic blood pressure in participants. However, systolic blood pressure did increase with all the participants.
This is conclusive evidence that yes, caffeine does cause blood pressure to rise. This increase is especially noticeable with non-coffee drinkers and individuals who are susceptible to blood pressure factors.
How Long Does Caffeine Affect Blood Pressure?
So, it is an accepted fact that caffeine can cause blood pressure to rise shortly after drinking coffee or a similarly caffeinated beverage. Let’s take a look at long the blood pressure stays up after the caffeine is consumed.
Well, research has been done in this department as well. However, it should be noted that the effects can vary from one person to another. Based on one experiment, though, blood pressure can rise around 30 minutes after ingesting it.
This will peak after an hour or two. Then, depending on the person, it may take around three to four hours – or more for your blood pressure to come back to normal again.
Long-Term Caffeine Consumption – How Does It Impact Blood Pressure?
As mentioned, a short increase in blood pressure isn’t something to be all that alarmed about. What most people want to find out is whether caffeine has a prolonged impact on blood pressure. After all, a continuously high blood pressure reading isn’t good.
According to cross-sectional studies, this doesn’t appear to be the case. Researchers found that habitual coffee drinkers don’t experience long-term increases in their blood pressure. This means that once your body becomes used to the effects of caffeine, your blood pressure doesn’t go up anymore.
That isn’t what is really intriguing, though. The same study found something else. Apparently, many habitual coffee drinkers notice a decrease – not a dangerous one – in their blood pressure. This suggests that with time, caffeine can actually help to lower your blood pressure!
Can Caffeine Cause Hypertension?
The research suggests that caffeine doesn’t have a long-term impact on your blood pressure. Nevertheless, let’s tackle another question – can caffeine cause hypertension? Is it possible that a high enough consumption can actually trigger the medical condition?
Well, there are researchers that considered the possibility, but the evidence proves otherwise. Now, on the one hand, those that don’t drink coffee appear to be at a lower risk of developing hypertension than those who drink up to 3 cups of coffee a day.
However, the same study revealed that individuals who drank closer to six cups a day had less risk of developing hypertension than people who drank three cups of coffee a day. Based on this information alone, it would appear that drinking more coffee had better outcomes.
Effect of Caffeine on High Blood Pressure Patients
Finally, if caffeine causes an increase in blood pressure, does it mean that it is dangerous for individuals who have already been diagnosed with the condition? The research was conducted on participants who had hypertension.
As with everyone else, those with hypertension experienced a rise in blood pressure after 3 hours. Once this time had elapsed, though, their levels returned back to original readings. However, this effect only lasted for a couple of weeks.
Once the participants became habitual coffee drinkers, their blood pressure didn’t increase. In this sense, they were just like healthy individuals who had also become accustomed to a certain amount of caffeine. Despite this, it is best for individuals diagnosed with hypertension to keep their caffeine consumption to a minimum.
As you can see, science does have the answers when it comes to the effect of caffeine on blood pressure. The answers might surprise you – if you are a habitual coffee drinker, you don’t actually have to worry about an increase in blood pressure for too long!
About the author
Allison Jones is a writer for the website CoffeeUrban. CoffeeUrban is a place built for coffee enthusiasts. You will easily find coffee maker & beans reviews, brewing tips, as well as some interesting pieces of coffee facts.
More Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally
For coffee enthusiasts, it’s good to hear that you don’t have to give up coffee to lower your blood pressure (unless you drink ridiculous amounts every day). Indeed, with research suggesting that long-term coffee drinking may even slightly decrease blood pressure, you might be considering taking up coffee drinking.
Nonetheless, coffee does cause a short-term increase in blood pressure – which you should be careful of if your blood pressure is extremely high. In any case, there are many other ways you can lower your blood pressure. There are a lot of drinks, including tea and green tea, which contain ingredients known to lower blood pressure. And there are a good number of foods which can reduce blood pressure. There is also a huge variety of different kinds of activities to make you fitter, which will help your blood pressure. And there are a range of different ways to alleviate stress, which can be another cause of high blood pressure.
If you’ve researched this a bit already, you’ll know that there’s a lot of information out there on lowering blood pressure naturally. However, to make it easy, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide:
As the (highly imaginative) title suggests, the guide is arranged into nine steps which you can follow at your own pace. Each step is easy to follow and gives clear guidance on the different aspects of lowering blood pressure naturally.
There are tips on different kinds of exercise to lower blood pressure. (Even gentle walking can help, and there’s also a blood pressure-lowering exercise that you can do on your sofa.)
There’s loads of info on good foods and drinks for lowering blood pressure, along with a few recipes.
And we outline a host of techniques to de-stress.
The guide is designed to be easy to follow and to help you live a healthier and happier life. Lowering your blood pressure doesn’t have to be about denial. There are enough tasty foods, refreshing drinks, enjoyable activities and relaxing practices to keep you going – with lower blood pressure – for a lifetime…