Dr. Kambiz Shekib of our sister brand, Medical Offices of Manhattan discusses the effects caffeine has on your heart.

Sources: UpToDate & AHA

 

What effect does a high caffeine intake have on your heart?

Caffeine is a most commonly utilized drug in the world; found in everyday products which include tea, coffee, sodas, and energy supplements. Compared to other drugs, caffeine is consumed through generally longer durations increasing its quantity in a person’s body. The general average quantity of caffeine per serving, measured in milligrams, is approximately 100 in black teas and regular coffee, 50 in various soda’s, and 250 in various energy drinks which market themselves as “high caffeine” drinks.

Caffeine is generally consumed by each average adult in doses of upwards of 400 milligrams per day, otherwise referred to as five cups. Predominantly, people perceive caffeine as something that increases the risk of irregular heartbeat, otherwise known as arrhythmia. However, research has demonstrated that caffeine does not show a relationship between increased caffeine intake and arrhythmia.

This does not include individuals who may have a sensitivity to caffeine which may cause them arrhythmia due to other underlying physiological heart conditions. It has been noted that there were reports of arrhythmia in patients who had previous underlying heart disease and ingested copious quantities of caffeine and suffered the consequences of cardiac arrhythmias. This demonstrates that if a patient has an underlying heart condition they should still avoid caffeine or consult with their physician.

In summary, individuals who consume caffeine regularly or habitually have a lower increase in blood pressure as compared to non-habitual caffeine consumers. Individuals who have been diagnosed with hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure, have an even high risk associated with caffeine consumption and an increase in their blood pressure.

Other risk factors associated with caffeine include diuretics, or an increase in urine output, arterial stiffness, or atherosclerosis, and possibly other minor risk factors.

 

What long-term effects can high caffeine intake have on your heart?

Generally speaking, according to major observational studies, there has not been any conclusive evidence for a major negative impact towards an individual’s heart due to high caffeine intake. As a matter of fact, large scale studies that were performed over ten or more years have demonstrated a lower incidence rate of stroke in patients and an inverse coalition between coffee consumption with caffeine and cardiovascular morality, or a decreased risk of death from heart related issues when consuming caffeine. To add, consumption of one or multiple cups of coffee with caffeine per day has been associated with a decreased risk of heart failure.

 

What kind of testing can be done to measure the effect of caffeine on your heart?

After caffeine consumption, it takes approximately one hour to measure the quantity of caffeine consumed. Blood tests can be used to obtain a person’s caffeine level, however, these tests are usually not ordered for general patients and are more utilized in research projects. According to large scale studies on the effects of caffeine on cardiovascular health, adverse effects of caffeine intake on cardiovascular health have not been noted, however, in patients with diagnosed hypertension, it is medically accepted to decrease consumption of caffeine because it has been shown to increase blood pressure to varying degrees and cause other cardiovascular issues.

 

Tips or best practices when it comes to caffeine intake and heart health.

When it comes to caffeine consumption and an individual’s heart health, it is recommended to consume caffeine in small quantities (less than six cups per day), not consume caffeine if you are hypertensive, be a habitual caffeine consumer and not someone who drinks it occasionally as your body can learn to metabolize it more efficiently, and change up your source of caffeine intake to include both teas and coffee to obtain the benefits of caffeine and the antioxidants and prolific effects in tea beverages.

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