Does drinking coffee raise blood pressure?
There are a lot of known health benefits of coffee. It can boost the metabolism, increase energy levels, and help get you through your day. Unfortunately there are also some less-desired side effects of coffee. These effects are caused by the caffeine content and include headaches and even dependence. But does coffee cause high blood pressure? Can it really affect you like that? Let’s look at the evidence and answer the questions relating to coffee and high blood pressure.
Because of the stimulation effect, caffeine can in fact cause a brief spike in your blood pressure levels. This can happen even if you don’t normally have high blood pressure. It’s actually not known just why this spike happens in the first place. It could be because of the production of adrenaline which can cause blood vessels to close, or it could be because it blocks the hormone that widens your arteries. Either way, you can expect a small spike when you drink coffee.
The good news is that caffeine doesn’t cause a permanent increase in high blood pressure. There are some coffee drinkers who do have a higher average, but there are also drinkers that develop a tolerance to the caffeine and don’t cause much of an increase at all. Caffeine doesn’t affect them as much as it affects others.
If you’re worried about your situation then you should consult your doctor about it and get their advice about whether you should stop drinking coffee. Start out by just drinking smaller amounts of coffee. Limit yourself to just one or two cups a day and don’t drink coffee before doing other things that can cause your pressure to increase such as lifting weights, exercise, or performing labor. That way you can reduce how much coffee will affect you.
If you have a way to check it; then you can also find out for yourself if you are sensitive to caffeine or not. Just check it before and after drinking coffee. If it goes up by between five and ten points then you could be sensitive. Also be careful about cutting back on coffee. Doing it slowly helps you avoid the withdrawal headaches that come with cutting out caffeine entirely. It can affect you in more ways than one.
Interestingly enough though studies out of Sweden suggest that drinking one or two cups of coffee can actually help you with these problems. People who drink this much, and not much more or less, have been shown to have some extra elasticity in their blood vessels. Blood vessels tend to stiffen as you age which is why blood pressure will get high as you age. Drinking moderate amounts of coffee can prevent this.
Really the evidence about what affect coffee has on the heart and blood pressure is a little unclear. Some studies suggest it is good while others suggest it is bad. It looks like different people respond differently. Keep an eye on it when drinking coffee to understand for sure if coffee can cause high blood pressure with you. Always consult your doctor if you get worried about it.