Blood Pressure, Artery Stiffness

Blood pressure is the force or pressure of blood that is moving around the body against the walls of the blood vessels. If blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on the blood vessels and heart, leading to complications such as heart attacks and strokes.1


Impact of coffee and caffeine on blood pressure

  • 10 people being treated for high blood pressure were tested.
  • On alternating days, participants were given a pill containing 250mg of caffeine (approx. 2-3 cups of coffee) or a placebo
  • 30 minutes after the caffeine was given, there was a jump in the stiffness of participant’s arteries, which peaked after 1 hour and remained significant for a minimum of 3 hours
  • This increased stiffness lead to an 11-point jump in systolic blood pressure and an 8-point jump in diastolic blood pressure


Stiffness of the arteries is an indicator of heart function, and the study the results above were taken from is one of the first studies to look at artery stiffness as well as blood pressure. The study looked at 10 participants with an average age of 62. On alternating days, the participants were given either a placebo pill, or a pill containing the equivalent of 2 or 3 cups of coffee, or 250mg of caffeine. The results showed a difference between the caffeine pill and placebo pill. Approximately 30 minutes after the caffeine was ingested, there was a large upward jump in the stiffness of the arteries. This change peaked after an hour, and lasted for a minimum of 3 hours.


The effect of the jump in artery stiffness was the systolic blood pressure raising by 11 and the diastolic blood pressure raised by 8.2


It should be noted, however, that this was a very small study with a small sample. Therefore, before any firm conclusions on the results of caffeine on blood pressure and artery stiffness can be drawn, further research should be completed.



               1 Blood Pressure UK - Blood Pressure

            2 WebMD - Caffeine's Effect on Blood Pressure