• Moderate Coffee Consumption Improves Aortic Dispensability In Elderly Hypertensives

    A detailed study conducted by a team from the University of Athens, Greece on the Aegean island of Ikaria has demonstrated that moderate consumption of coffee by hypertensive elderly individuals can lead to improvements in aortic distensibility, according to a presentation at the European Society of Cardiology’s Congress 2010 in Stockholm.

    Distensibility is a measure of the elasticity of arteries, and low levels have long been recognized as an indicator of atherosclerosis and a reliable predictor of future cardiovascular events. By increasing the load on the heart, hypertension leads to vascular changes and neuro-hormonal activation, which causes increases in vascular stiffness and reduced elasticity.

    One to two cups of coffee a day correlated with greater aortic distensibility compared with rarely consuming coffee (P=0.045) in a cohort of men and women 65 and older on the Greek island of Ikaria.

    “We cannot give the recommendation for every hypertensive to start drinking coffee, but we can strongly recommend if they do drink coffee to continue in moderation in order to improve their vascular age even if they are elderly,” according to Christina Chrysohoou, MD, PhD, of the University of Athens, Greece.

    Between June and October 2009, researchers conducted a health and nutrition survey using a target group of 343 men and 330 women aged between 65 and 100 – all of whom were long-term residents of Ikaria. The island was selected because of its population’s high life expectancy, with an above-average proportion of residents over 90 years of age. They focused their analysis in the hypertensive’s sub-group because the pressor response to caffeine seems to be more pronounced in hypertensive or hypertension-prone subjects than in normotensive ones. For this reason, their study became focused on a sub-group of some 235 hypertensive subjects, and measured the impact of daily coffee consumption using echocardiographic indices of aortic distensibility.

    Dr. Chrysohoou summarizes the findings; “The study revealed that moderate coffee consumption (between one and two cups per day) is associated with higher values of aortic distensibility when compared with other hypertensive elderly individuals taking less quantities of coffee. Adjustments were made for various factors such as age, gender, physical activity status, creatinine levels, BMI and diabetes mellitus. There was also evidence that moderate coffee consumption leads to reduced cardiovascular disease, lower prevalence of diabetes and hyperlipidaemia, lower body mass index, better renal functions and higher creatinine clearance levels. There was no evidence, however, that increasing coffee consumption to three to five cups per day would lead to further improvements in aortic distensibility.”




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