Is Too Much Coffee (Caffeine) Bad for the Heart?

For those of us who frequent the local coffee shop for our morning pick-me-up, the answer to the question, “Too much coffee?” is always a resounding “Never!” But the lasting, jittery feeling really should make you wonder.

While caffeine energizes and rejuvenates, too much of anything is usually not healthy. Each day, about 90 percent of Americans consume caffeine in one form or another. Chances are, if a person consumes more then 400 mg of caffeine per day, they’re likely missing out on other more nutritional beverages and/or skipping meals.

The American Heart Association states that “Many studies have been done to see if there’s a direct link between caffeine, coffee drinking and coronary heart disease. The results are conflicting. This may be due to the way the studies were done and confounding dietary factors. However, moderate coffee drinking (1–2 cups per day) doesn’t seem to be harmful.”
While the caffeine content of coffee is not in and of itself harmful to a person, additives such as the cream, sugar and artificial sweeteners definitely have an impact on the body, especially the heart.  Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, which also speeds up the heart rate. Heavy caffeine consumption has been linked to certain heart problems such as, mild arrhythmia, which is an irregular heartbeat.

“Abnormal heart rhythms, such as Lone Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib), considered to be the most common, can be trigged by caffeine”, says Dr. Mikhale El-Chami, Cardiologist at Emory University Hospital.

The consumption of caffeine has also been reported to increase the release of fatty acids, decrease sensitivity to insulin, and transiently increase blood pressure. These effects are unfriendly to cardiac health.

If you’re a patient with a heart condition, or if you’re at risk for heart disease, your doctor can help you decide whether or not limiting your caffeine consumption is advisable.

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