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Coffee can affect your heart rhythm

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY 15 Nov. 2021 (HealthDay News) – Your daily cup of joe may be a quick pick up, but it comes with a mix of good and not-so-good effects on your health, a new study reports.

Drink coffee helps people stay more active but it also robs some significantly sleep, say researchers.

And while java apparently does not cause irregular rhythms in the upper chamber of the heart, it could cause the lower chambers to skip beatings, according to findings presented Sunday at the American Heart Association’s online annual meeting.

“People need to understand that these extremely commonly consumed beverages actually have significant effects on our health, and they are changeable,” says lead author Dr. Gregory Marcus, co-head of cardiology for research at the University of California, San Francisco. “It’s not that coffee is necessarily all good or all bad. It’s very likely that whether it’s net good or net bad depends on a combination of factors.”

Doctors have long considered caffeine a potential heart health risk as it is an increasing stimulant heartbeat. But previous studies on the subject have yielded results that were “all over the place,” says Dr. Sana Al-Khatib, a Duke heart rate monitor.

“A very common question we get from patients almost every week is: Can I drink coffee? Especially in patients with atrial fibrillation, “a heart rhythm disorder that increases the risk of stroke and heart attack, says Al-Khatib, an electrophysiologist at the Duke Electrophysiology Clinic in Durham, NC

“It was not easy for us as clinicians to advise patients,” noted Al-Khatib, who was not involved in the study.

For that clinical trial, Marcus and his team recruited 100 coffee drinkers and equipped them with various devices to constantly record their health – a Fitbit, a heart monitor and a blood glucose monitor.

Over two weeks, participants were randomly assigned on a daily basis to either drink as much coffee as they wanted or to give it up.

The researchers then tracked the changes within each person and between people that occurred when they were either exposed to coffee or went without it.

The study found no evidence that coffee consumption created any irregular rhythms in the atria, the upper chambers of the heart. This is good news, as one of the major medical concerns about coffee was whether it could promote atrial fibrillation, a potentially dangerous condition.

But they have found that coffee consumption can cause the ventricles – the lower chambers of the heart – to skip beats.

“On days that were randomly assigned to coffee, people exhibited about 50% more premature ventricular contractions [PVCs] – more early beats emanating from the lower chambers of the heart, “Marcus said.” Those who consumed more than one drink of coffee essentially showed a doubling of their PVC scores. “

These PVCs are common and are usually considered harmless, he added.

“We all have them occasionally, and they are generally considered benign,” Marcus said. “But we and others have shown that more PVCs are an independent risk factor for heart failure overtime. Not everyone with more PVCs has heart failure, but that is a factor. “

Coffee has also had a dramatic effect on two other important factors in your health – physical activity and sleep.

On days when they were randomly assigned to drink coffee, participants averaged about 1,000 more steps than they would normally do, Marcus said.

“For every additional cup of coffee drink consumed, there were another 500 steps,” he said.

On the other hand, coffee tended to deprive people of sleep.

“On days that were randomly assigned to coffee, people slept an average of half an hour less that night,” Marcus said. “For every additional cup of coffee, there was about 18 minutes less sleep.”

But people who were genetically predisposed to metabolize coffee faster had no significant association between their coffee consumption and lack of sleep.

While Al-Khatib said the study was well done, she sees a need for follow-up research involving more patients over a longer period of time to see if the immediate effects of coffee eventually lead to increased risk of heart disease, stroke and other health problems.

Participants in this study were relatively young and healthy, with a mean age of 38 and a mean BMI on the high side of healthy – “not typical of the patient population we see in clinical practice,” which is older and one or more. health problems, Al-Khatib said.

So if you are concerned about the effects of coffee on your health, you should probably talk to your doctor, Marcus said. Depending on your personal health issues, it may make sense for you to either drink coffee or refrain from it.

“For those who are concerned about atrial fibrillation, these data suggest that there is no reason to worry about coffee consumption. On the other hand, if there are concerns about PVCs, it may make sense to avoid or reduce coffee consumption, said Marcus.

“If there is a goal to increase or maintain physical activity, coffee can be helpful,” he added, “but for those who struggle to sleep, the sleep disruption caused by coffee may be less worthwhile. make.”

Despite her reservations, Al-Khatib plans to use this study when counseling patients.

“I would not think of these results as, oh, OK, great, so what, let’s wait for the next study,” she said. “I will, of course, include those findings in my conversations with patients after reading the full newspaper and accepting that there are no surprises.”

Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The American Heart Association has more left caffeine and heart disease.

SOURCES: Gregory Marcus, MD, MAS, Associate Professor of Cardiology for Research, University of California, San Francisco; Sana Al-Khatib, MD, MHS, Professor, Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, and Electrophysiologist, Duke Electrophysiology Clinic; presentation, American Heart Association meeting, Boston, Nov. 14. 2021

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