Cardiovascular Effects of Coffee: Is It a Risk Factor?

Isabella Sudano, MD; Christian Binggeli, MD; Lukas Spieker, MD; Thomas Felix Lüscher, MD; Frank Ruschitzka, MD; Georg Noll, MD; Roberto Corti, MD


Prog Cardiovasc Nurs. 2005;20(2):65-69. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Intake of coffee, one of the most common beverages worldwide, is often reported as a cardiovascular risk factor; however, definitive data are lacking. Acute intake of coffee or beverages containing caffeine can increase blood pressure, heart minute volumes, and cardiac index, as well as activate the sympathetic nervous system in nonhabitual coffee drinkers. Interestingly, this is not observed in habitual coffee drinkers. Restriction of coffee or caffeinated beverages is no longer indicated in the seventh report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC 7) guidelines for the treatment of hypertension. In fact, no clear association between coffee and the risk of hypertension, myocardial infarction, or other cardiovascular diseases has been demonstrated. In contrast to early studies, recent research indicates that habitual moderate coffee intake does not represent a health hazard and may even be associated with beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.

In Western countries, coffee represents one of the most important substances derived from the fruits of the coffee tree ( Coffea arabica ). Caffeine therefore is probably the most frequently ingested pharmacologically active substance in the world. Apart from coffee, caffeine is found in other common beverages such as tea or soft drinks containing cola or guaranà , products containing cocoa or chocolate, and medications. Because of its wide consumption by most segments of the population, the potential effects of caffeine on human health are of great interest. This paper reviews the main cardiovascular (CV) effects of coffee in physiological and pathological conditions with a focus on potential harmful or beneficial effects in CV health.


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