Does Coffee Cause High Blood Pressure?

The relationship between high blood pressure and coffee is a very controversial and a debated issue. Some studies suggest that coffee is responsible for high blood pressure, whereas another school of thought holds opposite views.

Medical research shows inconsistent results in this regard and this may be one of the reasons that the debate behind this critical issue still carries on.

One thing is sure that coffee contains high caffeine content than the amount found in tea, chocolates and soft drinks. Caffeine is a potent brain stimulant and is responsible for nervousness palpitations and increase blood pressure. Studies show that When we take coffee in moderate amount, lets say (about 250 mg a day), which is equal to 2-3 cups of coffee, it dose not prove to be harmful. Anything above 2 to 3 cups of coffee may be a matter of concern for your BP. Baseline BP is very important, e.g those with high BP values would likely experience a greater increase than those with normal BP from the same cup of coffee.

Tolerance for caffeine develops if we use coffee regularly so BP may not be raised by regular use of coffee. Studies show that coffee by itself is not responsible for high blood pressure in an individual. Other factors, such as sex, smoking, educational level, exercise, environment, body weight, your work style, total intake of calories, alcohol consumption, occupation, family history and many other factors have to be considered.

Now come to non-regular drinkers of coffee, they are probably at a higher risk, as the caffeine in the coffee causes abrupt increase in blood pressure. However, this rise in BP is transitory, and after two to three hours of drinking a cup of coffee the blood pressure become normal. You may have many long-term health implications by these temporary effects of caffeine on the body’s blood pressure.

According to new research reported in The American Journal of Epidemiology in 1999 strongly indicates that consumption of caffeine does not contribute to Cardiovascular disease even for those drinking more than four to six cups of coffee a day

If you want to be on safe side, keep your caffeine intake as low as 200 milligrams a day. If you are a coffee lover and also have a feeling that it might raise your blood pressure, you may drink decaf. Have regular exercise, Follow DASH diet program strictly and try to keep free of undue stress.

I often advise my hypertensive patients to reduce intake of Coffee to moderate level of two cups daily. Try to avoid caffeinated beverages (coke, coffee, tea) at least two hours prior to bed.