Theoretically, coffee could be problematic for women with heart disease because the caffeine could raise blood pressure, or have other negative effects on the cardiovascular system. However, these latest findings suggest otherwise.
To investigate, researchers from Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain followed nearly 12,000 U.S. nurses with a history of heart disease or stroke.
During the 20 year study period researchers found that women who regularly drank caffeinated coffee were no more likely to die from heart attack, stroke or any other cause than non-coffee-drinkers.
The findings held true, even for women who downed four or more cups of coffee per day. Even after accounting for factors like age, high blood pressure, diabetes and weight - there was still no association between drinking coffee and risk of death.
Researchers say that while the findings support the idea that people with heart disease who already drink coffee do not have to give it up, they warn that it is difficult to make individual recommendations on safe coffee intake because of genetic variations in people's caffeine metabolism. Some studies have suggested that genetics play a role in whether or not caffeine from coffee can be harmful or helpful. For instance, some research has linked coffee drinking to increased risks of high blood pressure in people who metabolize caffeine slowly. However for people who metabolize caffeine more quickly, it may actually have a protective effect and help guard against heart attack.
For more information on the health effects of caffeine, click here.
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