Coffee and Arterial Function

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world today. Found in beverages like coffee, tea and soft drinks, it is consumed by 8 out of 10 adults in the Western world today.

It is interesting how modern society can condone its use as a socially acceptable poison. Its toxic effect is without doubt.

In a study, a group of 10 healthy volunteers were given either inactive placebo capsules or capsules containing 100 milligrams of caffeine — a quantity equivalent to one cup of coffee. The volunteers were then given the opposite capsule from the previous dosage on another day. The results showed that caffeine consumption caused an increase in wave reflection — a measure of arterial stiffness — for at least 2 hours.

Just one cup of coffee is enough to harden a person’s arteries for several hours afterwards. This puts extra pressure on the heart, thus increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke. The same amount of caffeine can raise the blood pressure by 5 to 10 millimeters of mercury. If this increase is on a regular basis, it could have negative repercussions on a person’s long-term prognosis. Thus people with high blood pressure should consider reducing their caffeine intake or drinking caffeine-free drinks.

1 Comment

  • Gabriel Hernandez says:

    Most of my older relatives are heavy coffee drinkers. Some of them have had minor heart attacks or heart surgery. Ill definitely be giving them this information. Thank you.