I love coffee, and so do many patients. A patient I was taking care asked if coffee was making her blood pressure harder to control. Great question: does coffee raise blood pressure? If so, who should avoid caffeine?
I dug in to the research (click here to read it) to find some answers. As is most things in medicine, the answers are clear as mud (get the pun?!). None the less, here ya go!
- Caffeine, in the quantity of 200-300 mg (1 1/2 to 2 cups of caffeinated coffee) caused blood pressure to go up for about 3 hours after consumption in those with high blood pressure. The systolic (top number) blood pressure went up by about 8 in the first hour after drinking coffee, and the diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) went up by 6 .
- The paper recommends that patients with poorly controlled blood pressure avoid caffeine. However, those with well controlled blood pressure could drink 1-2 cups of coffee.
- People with out high blood pressure also experience an increase in blood pressure after drinking caffeine.
- Coffee may contain some substances (chloragenic acids) that are helpful to decrease blood vessel inflammation and some substances that are harmful (hydroxyl hydroquinone). There are not strong recommendations available on drinking coffee with and with out these substances.
So what do I do? I drink one latte in the morning that is half decaf. The rest of the day I drink decaf (much to the disbelief of my husband!)