BP Basics

No Confirmed Relationship between Caffeine and High Blood Pressure

Coffee, tea, some soft drinks and chocolate contain a mild type of stimulant called caffeine. Caffeine has been under a lot of scrutiny and has been a subject of research for quite some time as it is believed to contribute to high blood pressure.

Some studies show that people who drink coffee daily have a higher blood pressure than the people who drink the beverage once in a while. Researchers say that caffeine narrows down the blood vessels by eliminating the functioning of a hormone called adenosine.

One of the functions that adenosine performs is dilation of the blood vessels in order to keep your blood pressure within normal levels. It is also believed that caffeine stimulates the functioning of the adrenal gland to secrete adrenaline and cortisol, which ultimately leads to an elevation of blood pressure.

Some studies even conclude that caffeine increases the heart rate forcing the heart to work faster than usual and contributes to an increase in blood pressure.

Interestingly, there are several other studies conducted which contradict the findings of the above-mentioned studies.

The British medical journal as well as the studies conducted in the Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases show that no dramatic changes occur in blood pressure of regular coffee drinkers. The effects of drinking coffee on blood pressure are minimal.

Further studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health's Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure concluded that caffeine does not contribute to high blood pressure.

If you drink a lot of coffee then it is advisable to cut down consumption. You should also abstain from drinking coffee before beginning strenuous activities like exercising, jogging or weight lifting. These activities are likely to increase your blood pressure.

The school of thought that believes that caffeine increases your blood pressure does not feel that you should totally stop drinking coffee. It only advocates moderation in drinking coffee.

You should not drink more than 2 or 3 cups of coffee during the day. Try to avoid coffee during the late evening or night as it can prevent you from getting a restful sleep.