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What Is the Connection between Caffeine and Hypertension?

By Anna B. Smith
Updated May 17, 2024
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Caffeine and hypertension may be linked through the body's hormonal response to the presence of the chemical in the blood stream. Some hormones, which help keep arteries open and wide for blood to flow through, may be blocked by caffeine. Other stimulating hormones, such as adrenaline, may also be triggered to release, increasing the heart rate after consumption of caffeine. There is no conclusive medical evidence that suggests caffeine can lead to chronic hypertension, however, those who suffer from that and other related heart conditions can benefit by avoiding this chemical.

Hypertension is also known as high blood pressure, and is caused by large amounts of blood pumping heavily against the walls of the arteries. As an individual ages, their arteries can begin to narrow and the walls weaken. Over a long period of time, hypertension can lead to some forms of heart disease.

Though there is no proven, direct link between caffeine and hypertension, caffeinated foods and beverages do have the ability to temporarily increase an individual's blood pressure. Most people develop chronic high blood pressure as they age or as a result of diet and genetic disposition. These people may benefit from avoiding consuming caffeine, and should consult with their doctors about regulating their daily or weekly usage.

Some doctors believe that one way in which caffeine and hypertension can be connected is in the size of the body's arteries. It is thought that caffeine has the ability to block the release of certain hormones, like adenosine, which may actually contribute to maintaining wider arterial passageways. As the walls begin to narrow in closer to one another, more pressure is applied to the blood flowing through them. The result is an increase in blood pressure. Those who already suffer from narrow arteries and who may have had previous heart disease or heart attacks should typically avoid consuming caffeinated beverages.

It is also possible that caffeine can stimulate the adrenal gland. Once the adrenal gland has been activated at higher levels, it pumps more adrenaline into the body, which causes the blood pressure to go up. Not all individuals will experience this type of reaction, however, and those who drink caffeine on a regular basis may be able to develop a tolerance to it, thus making them immune to the suspected links between caffeine and hypertension. To test whether or not a person's body is affected by caffeine, he can consume a caffeinated beverage and then monitor his heart rate within 30 to 60 minutes. If it has increased dramatically, then he can be confident caffeine does have a tendency to affect his blood pressure.

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Discussion Comments

By ysmina — On Dec 09, 2013

I'm not sure about the connection between hypertension and caffeine. I don't think that caffeine causes hypertension in healthy people. Some people think that jitters is hypertension but it's not.

By turquoise — On Dec 09, 2013

Large amounts of caffeine can definitely affect blood pressure. I think the likelihood of it increases if other stimulants are taken at the same time.

I once had two energy drinks back to back. It had caffeine and some other herbal stimulants in it. I started feeling very weird afterward. I had anxiety and I could feel my heart beating very fast.

I ended up going to the hospital where they took my blood pressure and it was too high. The emergency doctor told me to avoid energy drinks and too much caffeine.

By donasmrs — On Dec 08, 2013

I have hypertension and there seems to be a limit to how much caffeine I can handle daily without it affecting my blood pressure. I can have several cups of black tea or a very small cup of coffee without problems. But if I have more than this amount, I start experiencing heart palpitations and my blood pressure does go up even though I am taking medications for it.

I'm sure that everyone is different though. So it's a good idea to monitor oneself after having caffeine for any odd symptoms. This especially applies to people with high blood pressure, hypertension and other heart issues.

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