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High Blood Pressure and Caffeine

Caffeine and high blood pressure can be a deadly combination. Simply said, the two things don't mix.

Reasons why caffeine is not good for those with hypertension:

1. Caffeine is a stimulant - Albeit a mild stimulant, caffeine can contribute to the rise of blood pressure. If your blood pressure level is already high, then this can pose some problems for you. Studies have not really shed light on why caffeine is linked to high blood pressure. Some studies show that those who have a regular intake of caffeine develop a tolerance to it while other studies show that those who regularly take caffeine have higher blood pressure. However, most of these studies agree that cream, sugar and other food have a tendency to dilute caffeine's effect on the body.

2. Caffeine can raise blood pressure levels quickly - Studies show an immediate rise in blood pressure following caffeine intake. This effect is temporary, especially among those who do not have an intake of caffeine regularly. Doctors believe that this rise in blood pressure levels is linked to caffeine's ability to block the hormone adenosine from widening the artery. Constricted arteries result in a rise in blood pressure levels. Another theory is that caffeine releases cortisol and adrenaline, which can also increase blood pressure. It is important to note that studies have yet to discover the long term effect of caffeine on one's blood pressure levels.

3. Caffeine can increase the risk for Artherosclerosis - Artherosclerosis (or the hardening of the arteries) has been linked to the intake of caffeine by those with high blood pressure. A study conducted in 2002 by the American Society of Hypertension has confirmed this link. People who have high blood pressure and who regularly take caffeine are more susceptible to Artherosclerosis. What is to be noted is that the study also stated that at this point, having definitive conclusions about the matter is still premature.

4. Caffeine can cause heart problems - Chronic heart problems are partially attributed to high blood pressure. As such, caffeine can contribute to heart problems as it helps increase blood pressure levels. Drinking more than four cups of coffee increases one's probabilities to develop heart problems.

Around 80% of people the world over still take caffeine daily, despite its reputation as a high blood pressure inducer.

Caffeine can be taken in different forms, particularly in common beverages. Soft drinks, chocolate drinks, coffee and tea are some examples.

Foods containing caffeine include:

plain black tea (around 70 mg),

8-ounces of brewed coffee (135 mg)

Pepsi 12-ounces can (37.5 mg)

a bar of chocolate, 1.45 ounces (27 mg)

pain relievers (60 mg)

one bottle of Red Bull (80 mg)

Midol (usually taken for menstruation pains) (60 mg).

Doctors have advised even those not suffering from high blood pressure to limit their caffeine intake to about two 12-ounce cups of coffee. But you should also watch out for other beverages that contain caffeine like tea or soft drinks as they can increase the amount of caffeine taken on a daily basis.

Suffice it to say, if you already have high blood pressure it would be safer to minimize if not totally stop your caffeine consumption. That is of course, if you are concerned about keeping your blood pressure at a safe level.

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