The Effects of Caffeine Consumption on Blood Pressure and Pulse in Adolescent Women

The Effects of Caffeine Consumption on Blood Pressure and Pulse in Adolescent Women

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The Effects of Caffeine Consumption on Blood Pressure and Pulse in Adolescent Women Lab TA: Hannah Shayler Megan Lawless Date of Lab: 10/11/2007
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ABSTRACT Caffeine is a drug highly prized for its perceived benefits of increased alertness and decreased fatigue. Less is known about its effects on the cardiovascular system, especially with chronic usage. The focus in this experiment was on caffeine’s effect on blood pressure and pulse in six healthy, adolescent women. Three of the subjects did not consume caffeine on a regular basis, and three did. Subjects’ blood pressure and pulse were taken at rest and after exercise using a digital blood pressure monitor. We expected to see a difference of roughly 7 mmHg for systolic blood pressure and 5 mmHg for diastolic pressure between the control and experimental groups. Our results were consistent with our predictions, with an overall average increase in systolic blood pressure of 9 mmHg and diastolic of 6 mmHg in the caffeine drinking group compared with the control. We concluded that caffeine, either directly or indirectly, increases cardiac output and peripheral resistance enough to have a significant impact on blood pressure and pulse. 1,3,7-trimethylxanthanine, commonly known as caffeine, is a drug found in many foods and beverages including coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate (Spiller 1998). Caffeine is most known for its effects on the central nervous system. There is extensive support for the theory that caffeine acts as a competitive inhibitor of the neuromodulator adenosine (Spiller 1998). It is thought that a tolerance for the neurological effects of caffeine develops when the body increases adenosine receptor sites (Spiller 1998). Caffeine also increases metabolic rate and can mobilize calcium from cells (Spiller 1998). Its various effects arise from the fact that it can easily cross all biological membranes (Spiller 1998). Caffeine also acts rather quickly, with more than 99% of caffeine consumed being absorbed within 45 minutes (Garattini 1993). The rate of breakdown of caffeine in the body depends in part on age and sex (Spiller 1998). The focus in this experiment was on the cardiovascular effects of caffeine. It is widely accepted that acute caffeine
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consumption results in increased blood pressure (Spiller 1998, Gupta and Gupta 1999). Caffeine’s hypertensive effects typically subside within three or four hours (Spiller 1998). The observed increase in blood pressure is caused in part by increased systemic vascular resistance (Gupta and Gupta 1999). Caffeine is also known to increase production of epinephrine and norepinephrine, catecholamines released from the adrenal glands that increase heart rate, stroke volume, and peripheral resistance (Campbell and Reece 2005). Caffeine’s direct effects on the cardiovascular system may be related to modification of calcium levels within cells (Spiller 1998).
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