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One Cup of Coffee May
Temporarily Harden Arteries

Excerpt By Kristin Demos, Reuters Health

STOCKHOLM (Reuters Health) - The amount of caffeine in just one cup of coffee could be enough to harden a person's arteries for several hours afterward, according to a study presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress here.

Hardened arteries, or atherosclerosis, put extra pressure on the heart and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, researchers said. They noted that their findings could have implications for people already at risk of these conditions.

``People must be careful with caffeine, especially if they have high blood pressure,'' said Dr. Charalambos Vlachopoulos from the Cardiology Department of the Henry Dunant Hospital in Athens, Greece. ``After drinking a cup of coffee, blood pressure can rise up to 5 or even 10 millimeters of mercury. The amount depends on the individual and dose.''

``Regular rises of this magnitude are important in a person's long-term prognosis and could increase their risk of suffering from a stroke or heart attack,'' Vlachopoulos said. ``I think that people with high blood pressure...should consider reducing their caffeine intake or having caffeine-free drinks.''

The researchers gave a group of 10 healthy volunteers either inactive placebo capsules or capsules containing 100 milligrams of caffeine--a quantity equivalent to one cup of coffee.

On another day, the volunteers received the opposite capsule from the previous dosage. Neither the volunteers nor the testers knew the sequence in which the volunteers had been given the capsules.

Caffeine consumption caused an increase in wave reflection--a measure of arterial stiffness--for at least 2 hours, according to the study results.

Found in coffee, tea and soft drinks, caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world, Vlachopoulos said. In the Western world, 8 out of 10 adults consume caffeine in some form.

Reference Source 89


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