Reaching for a cup of coffee in the morning could be damaging to your health according to new research that links coffee consumption to hypertension and heart attacks. Commonly known as high blood pressure, hypertension affects nearly 70 million American adults, and only half are seeking medical help according to the CDC. But with so many research studies indicating that drinking coffee is beneficial, and some warning about health side effects, what should you believe? New research across multiple studies indicates the benefits and risks of drinking coffee can be linked to your genetic makeup.
Hypertension & Heart Attacks
Hypertension is medical condition that affects the arteries that can lead to heart disease. In patients with hypertension, the heart pumps large amounts of blood through artery walls with excessive force, causing microscopic tears and scar tissue that can accumulate cholesterol, blood platelets, and fats. Over time, the accumulation of cholesterol, blood platelets, and fat create a plaque-like substance that hardens and narrows vital arteries, and blocks blood flow that can increase the risk for damage to vital organs, blood clots, heart attack and stroke.
Caffeine & Hypertension
If you are diagnosed or at risk for hypertension and drink coffee, the way your body processes caffeine could increase your risk for heart attacks. New research conducted by the Journal of Hypertension and other key studies have found that the key to determining if coffee benefits your body depends on your DNA. In particular, individuals with genotype variant CYP1A2 metabolize caffeine faster than those without the gene. During the research study, individuals with genotype CYP1A2 were given caffeine over a period of time, and the results concluded the chances for high blood pressure and heart attack dropped with each cup of coffee. However, individuals without the genotype CYP1A2 processed caffeine slower, and showed an increased risk for non-fatal heart attacks and developing hypertension.
The implications of the research suggest that patients who metabolize caffeine slowly are at risk for developing complicated artery disease and should avoid coffee. If your body processes caffeine fast, it is safe to consume coffee on a regular basis. To find out if you have genotype CYP1A2, a DNA test can be performed to find particular problematic genotypes that can help determine your risks for certain cancers and other diseases.
Researchers added that more research is needed to fully understand the effects that caffeine has on the body across multiple population samples. Since every patient’s body functions differently, guidelines for safe coffee consumption cannot be set at the moment, but the new findings can help patients at significant risk for heart disease to make more informed decisions about their health.
Patients who are diagnosed with hypertension can be prescribed medications that help lower damaging blood pressure to avoid serious health complications. One of the high blood pressure medication options is clonidine, a medicine that helps patients maintain a healthy blood flow. Clonidine’s mechanism of action stimulates alpha-receptors present in the brain to reduce signals to blood vessels that contract and narrow. This group of medications are commonly known as alpha blockers. This mechanism allows clonidine to widen and relax blood vessels, thus reducing blood pressure levels that can lead to hypertension and a significant risk for heart attack and stroke.
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, and are prescribed medication, there are discounts available on our site that can significantly reduce the cost of these medication at major pharmacies. For more information on how to obtain this hypertension medication at a discounted rate, visit our High Blood Pressure Page.