Does coffee really affect heart rate?
While that first cup of coffee or caffeinated tea might give you the perk needed to wake up, it doesn’t necessarily accelerate your heartbeat, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Doctors used to believe that premature cardiac contractions, which usually cause no symptoms or mild symptoms, such as heart palpitations, ‘skipped’ beats or fluttering, were harmless. But studies now show they’re associated with heart failure, atrial fibrillation and other dangerous conditions, researchers say.
Study leaders from the University of California-San Francisco examined 1,400 people in the study to measure the consumption of caffeinated products and their dietary habits for 12 months.
“This was the first community-based sample to look at the impact of caffeine on extra heartbeats, as previous studies looked at people with known arrhythmias,” said lead author Shalini Dixit, in a news release.
The participants were randomly selected from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Cardiovascular Health study database with participant’s average age being 72. During the study, 61 percent of people were asked to drink more than one caffeinated drink a day whether that was coffee, tea or a soft drink. They measured instances of premature ventricular contractions and premature atrial contractions.
They could not find any differences in instances of these heart disturbances, no matter how much coffee, tea or chocolate people consumed.
Although consuming caffeinated products didn’t change how the heart functioned, health experts suggest talking to your physician.
“When it comes to any heart issues, you have to be careful of saying that one type of philosophy works for everyone,” says Dr. Harley Brooks, an internal medicine physician at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago, who suffered a heart attack himself and has changed his diet and caffeine habits after his health scare. “Sometimes one cup of coffee can affect a person more than someone else.”
The American Heart Association says the jury is still out on whether high caffeine intake increases the risk of coronary heart disease. Many studies have been done to see if there’s a direct link between caffeine, coffee drinking and coronary heart disease; however, there have been conflicting results.
Experts say moderate coffee drinking, which is one to two cups a day, does not seem harmful.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.