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Does caffeine cause high blood pressure?

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jan 13, 2021.

Official Answer

by Drugs.com

Caffeine is one of the most widely consumed natural stimulants worldwide. It is found commonly in coffee, tea, chocolate, some sodas and energy drinks. Caffeine can cause a short-term increase in blood pressure (BP) immediately after it’s consumed and for a short time after.

Caffeine jolts the central nervous system and brain. It blocks the adenosine receptors preventing drowsiness and creates an increase in feelings of happiness, alertness, energy and improves performance. Blocking adenosine receptors and increasing certain neurotransmitters also causes the short-term elevation in blood pressure that may occur after caffeine is consumed.

Regular caffeine consumption can lessen the impact caffeine has on your blood pressure as you can build up a tolerance to caffeine. However, some people will still find that caffeine increases their blood pressure even after long term use.

How quickly does caffeine increase blood pressure?

Blood pressure is usually affected within 30 minutes of taking caffeine, with the peak effect occurring 1-2 hours after consumption when caffeine levels tend to be at their highest. It can take 3-6 hours for caffeine levels to reduce by half in your system. Blood pressure changes caused by caffeine have been found to last for more than 4 hours.

How much does caffeine increase blood pressure?

A normal blood pressure reading is considered to be less than 120 mm Hg systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic. The results from one study suggest that around five cups per day of coffee caused a 1-2 mm Hg increase in blood pressure. Reviews have also reported changes of between 3-15 mm Hg systolic and 4-13 mm Hg diastolic after caffeine consumption.

What is high blood pressure or hypertension?

Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against artery (blood vessel) walls as it is pumped around the body by the heart.

Two numbers are reported when blood pressure is measured. The first number is the systolic pressure - the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The second number is the diastolic pressure, which is the pressure in your arteries when your heart is at rest between beats. As mentioned above, a normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 mm Hg.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a consistent increase in pressure that causes the heart to pump harder and damages blood vessels. It is a primary cause of death worldwide and is a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular heart disease, stroke and heart attack.

While caffeine consumption can cause a short-term increase in blood pressure, it is not generally thought to increase the risk of hypertension. Although, some research suggests that certain people could be at increased risk from cardiovascular events such as coronary heart disease or stroke because of caffeine consumption.

Bottom line

  • Caffeine can cause a short-term increase in your blood pressure.
  • Check with your healthcare provider about what’s a suitable level of caffeine consumption for you.
  • If your blood pressure needs monitoring, let your healthcare provider know about any recent caffeine consumption.
References
  1. Mort JR, Kruse HR. Timing of blood pressure measurement related to caffeine consumption. Ann Pharmacother. 2008;42(1):105-110. doi:10.1345/aph.1K337 [Available 12 January, 2021]
  2. Geleijnse JM. Habitual coffee consumption and blood pressure: an epidemiological perspective. Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2008;4(5):963-970. doi:10.2147/vhrm.s3055 [Available 12 January, 2021]
  3. Coffee and health. Coffee consumption and blood pressure. https://www.coffeeandhealth.org/topic-overview/coffee-consumption-and-blood-pressure/ [Available 12 January, 2021]
  4. Lovallo WR, Wilson MF, Vincent AS, Sung BH, McKey BS, Whitsett TL. Blood pressure response to caffeine shows incomplete tolerance after short-term regular consumption. Hypertension. 2004;43(4):760-765. doi:10.1161/01.HYP.0000120965.63962.93 [Available 12 January, 2021] 
  5. Nurminen ML, Niittynen L, Korpela R, Vapaatalo H. Coffee, caffeine and blood pressure: a critical review. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1999;53(11):831-839. doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1600899 [Available 12 January, 2021] 
  6. World Health Organisation (WHO). Hypertension. Available at: https://www.who.int/health-topics/hypertension#tab=tab_1 [Available 12 January, 2021]
  7. American Heart Association. What is high blood pressure?  31 October, 2016. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/the-facts-about-high-blood-pressure/what-is-high-blood-pressure [Available 12 January, 2021]
  8. American Heart Association. Understanding Blood Pressure Readings. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/understanding-blood-pressure-readings [Available 12 January, 2021]

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