Joy’s 82-year-old mother, Emily, began every day with a strong cup of coffee. When she was diagnosed with high blood pressure, Joy thought she should stop drinking caffeinated beverages, including her beloved morning cup of joe. Emily, however, thought the notion of giving up coffee was ridiculous. Which of them was correct?
What Research Says About Coffee and High Blood Pressure
The caffeine found in coffee is a vasoconstrictor, which means that it causes blood vessels to constrict, or become narrower. When arteries are narrowed, the heart has to work harder to pump blood through them and the pressure on artery walls is greater. However, the research concerning the effect of coffee on blood pressure doesn’t prove one way or the other whether your aging relative should quit drinking it. Some studies indicate that other substances in coffee may be beneficial to blood vessels. In addition, research seems to indicate that how much coffee people drink and how often plays a role, as shown in these studies:
- A 2017 review of existing data indicated that people who drank 7 cups of coffee per day had a 7 percent lower risk of hypertension. Each additional cup per day they drank lowered their risk by another percent. The review also showed that some of the substances in coffee, like phenols, may actually help blood vessels.
- A 2017 review suggested that while those with hypertension should be cautious about how much coffee they drink, having between 3 and 4 cups per day had a neutral effect on blood pressure.
- Another study conducted in 2016 involved healthy coffee drinkers and showed that blood pressure was still elevated 3 hours after drinking it. However, blood pressure stayed within a healthy range.
Still, some doctors recommend that their patients with high blood pressure reduce or eliminate caffeine from their diet. Though the evidence is conflicting, it is best for seniors to follow the advice of their doctors.
If the doctor does suggest your older family member give up or reduce caffeine, there are many other beverages they can enjoy instead, such as:
- Herbal tea.
- Hot water with lemon.
- Decaffeinated coffee.
- Hot chocolate (5 mg of caffeine per serving).
Home care providers can prepare alternative beverages for your older family member to enjoy. In addition, a home care provider can assist with taking other steps to manage high blood pressure, including preparing low-salt meals. Another benefit of home care for seniors with high blood pressure is having someone to remind them to take their medications.
If you or someone you know needs help with Home Care in Kentwood, MI, contact Gauthier Family Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services in our community. Call us at (616) 258-2300 for more information.