Why coffee is harmful for people with severe high blood pressure

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A recent study suggests that individuals with severe high blood pressure should perhaps reconsider their coffee consumption.

Conducted by Hiroyasu Iso and colleagues, and published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, this research has highlighted a concerning link between coffee intake and an increased risk of death from heart disease among those with notably high blood pressure.

The study meticulously analyzed the health outcomes of over 18,000 participants, both men and women, aged 40 to 79, over an extensive follow-up period of nearly 19 years that concluded in 2009.

During this time, 842 cardiovascular-related deaths were recorded, providing the researchers with substantial data to examine.

According to the findings, drinking two or more cups of coffee daily could double the risk of dying from heart disease in individuals whose blood pressure levels are 160/100 mm Hg or higher—a condition classified in the study as severe hypertension.

In stark contrast, consuming just one cup of coffee per day did not show any increase in heart disease death risk across various blood pressure categories, suggesting a safer consumption level for coffee drinkers.

The study also considered the consumption of green tea, a beverage similarly caffeinated yet distinctly different in its health impacts. Unlike coffee, daily consumption of green tea showed no increase in the risk of heart disease death at any level of blood pressure.

This variance between the two beverages might be due to the polyphenols present in green tea, which are potent antioxidants and offer anti-inflammatory benefits, possibly mitigating some of the adverse effects of caffeine.

The classification of blood pressure used in this study divided levels into five categories: optimal and normal (less than 130/85 mm Hg); high normal (130-139/85-89 mm Hg); grade 1 hypertension (140-159/90-99 mm Hg); grade 2 (160-179/100-109 mm Hg); and grade 3 (higher than 180/110 mm Hg).

It was in the upper two categories—grades 2 and 3—that the increased risk associated with coffee consumption was most pronounced.

The contrast in caffeine’s effects highlighted by this study is backed by previous research, which has both supported and cautioned against coffee consumption.

Earlier studies have indicated that moderate coffee drinking might lower the risk of death following a heart attack and could even help prevent heart attacks and strokes in healthy individuals.

Moreover, regular coffee consumption has been associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases, a decreased risk of depression, enhanced alertness, and even appetite control.

However, the downside of excessive coffee intake includes raised blood pressure and potential symptoms like anxiety, heart palpitations, and sleep difficulties.

These effects could be particularly detrimental to individuals with severe hypertension, for whom the adverse impacts of caffeine might overshadow its benefits.

In light of these findings, it becomes evident that while coffee and green tea share a common ingredient—caffeine—their overall effects on health, particularly concerning heart disease, diverge significantly.

This study underscores the importance of personalized dietary choices based on individual health profiles, particularly for those with severe high blood pressure, suggesting that moderation in coffee consumption could be key to managing health risks effectively.

If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies that early time-restricted eating could help improve blood pressure, and natural coconut sugar could help reduce blood pressure and artery stiffness.

For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about added sugar in your diet linked to higher blood pressure, and results showing vitamin D could improve blood pressure in people with diabetes.

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