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Does Caffeine Raise Blood Pressure?

Getting your daily coffee fix may seem necessary to help you wake up in the morning, but does caffeine raise blood pressure? Is caffeine consumption safe for those who have already been diagnosed with hypertension? Here's what all men and women should know about how caffeine may affect your blood pressure.

Does Caffeine Increase Blood Pressure Levels?

Caffeine intake can cause raised blood pressure in some individuals. Your beginning blood pressure level plays a role in how much of an increase you will experience. Individuals who have normal blood pressure may only experience a temporary increase in blood pressure, according to Health Services at Columbia University. The increase tends to be more significant for those who have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure, however.

Does caffeine raise blood pressure more drastically if you consume it frequently? Actually, while research has found that your tolerance of caffeine does play a role in how much your blood pressure will be affected by consumption, the opposite seems to be true. A Harvard study found that people who drank coffee for several weeks experienced a smaller increase in their levels than those who were not used to drinking coffee.

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Is it Safe to Continue Consuming Caffeine?

Keep in mind that while caffeine consumption can raise your blood pressure levels, it is not considered a cause of hypertension, according to Health Services at Columbia University. If you have normal blood pressure levels, you will generally not need to worry about cutting out caffeine.

If you have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure and are concerned about the effects that caffeine may have on your levels, it can be ideal to limit your intake to 200 mg a day, according to Mayo Clinic. Some healthcare providers may recommend eliminating caffeine completely, however. Decaffeinated products can be an ideal alternative if you're trying to cut back.

When Should You Avoid Caffeine?

There are certain times when you are advised to avoid caffeine to keep your blood pressure levels under control. In his Mayo Clinic article, Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D. recommends avoiding caffeine prior to exercise, weightlifting, or hard physical labor, since your blood pressure levels will already be naturally elevated. According to the American Pregnancy Association, women should avoid caffeine during pregnancy to reduce the risk of increased blood pressure. Also be sure to avoid caffeine consumption before having your blood pressure taken to help ensure an accurate test result.

Does caffeine raise blood pressure levels enough for you to be concerned? People who fall into the normal blood pressure range generally don't need to worry about it. If you have high blood pressure, it can't hurt to limit your intake, but ask a licensed healthcare provider to find out how much caffeine is safe for you.

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Reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Monti, MD, MPH

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