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Caffeine, your health

GLENN ELLIS | 10/8/2017, 9:38 p.m.
Around 90 percent of Americans consume caffeine every single day in one form or another.
Mug of coffee and a string of coffee beans.

If you have normal blood pressure, caffeine can increase it noticeably, but the increase is temporary and only lasts a short time. The increase generally includes the systolic and diastolic pressure readings, increasing each by approximately 4 to 13 mm Hg, or millimeters of mercury, according to the Mayo Clinic website. That means if you have a normal blood pressure reading of 120 mm for your systolic pressure and 80 mm for your diastolic pressure, caffeine can increase it up to about 133 over 93.

No one is sure why caffeine can increase blood pressure, although the Mayo Clinic site reports a few theories. One is that caffeine may cause your arteries to constrict by blocking a hormone that usually keeps them wider. Another is that caffeine may boost your adrenal glands’ release of more adrenaline, with the greater amount of adrenaline leading to the increase. In either case, the increase is always temporary rather than resulting in long-term increase in pressure.

If you cut down on your caffeine intake suddenly, you may experience headaches, irritability, tiredness, depression, nausea, vomiting and stiff or painful muscles. These symptoms generally appear 12 to 24 hours after you decrease or abstain from caffeine. Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal are usually mild and typically go away after a few days.

One thing is clear – despite the recent findings, most doctors still recommend moderation in regard to caffeine intake. While these recent studies give hope to those who are hooked on their morning cup, there is still a long way to go to determine the long- term effects of caffeine use.

Remember, I’m not a doctor. I just sound like one.

Take good care of yourself and live the best life possible.

This column is for informational purposes only. If you have a medical condition or concern, please seek professional care from your doctor or other health professional. Glenn Ellis is a Health Advocacy Communications Specialist and is available through http://www.glennellis.com.