How Does Caffeine Affect Your Heart Rate?

From an oat milk latte to a canned energy drink, caffeine is about more than just waking up. It's in the majority of households in the U.S., and according to a 2014 study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, 85% of Americans consume at least one caffeinated beverage each day. Caffeine is found in plants, like coffee beans and tea leaves, all over the world. It can also be added to some medications, like pain relievers (via theĀ University of Michigan).

Caffeine has some health benefits that might make it even easier to reach for your morning cup of joe. In addition to giving you an energy boost, it might be associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. It could protect against conditions, like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, and is linked to a decreased risk of depression, according to Healthline.

However, it's not all good news. Caffeine can also increase stomach acid and blood sugar levels, and cause dizziness and anxiety. Too much caffeine can lead to sleep deprivation and tremors, and it may not be great for your heart rate (via the University of Michigan).

Be careful, especially if you have heart disease

Once we consume caffeine, it enters the bloodstream and stimulates the nervous system (via Livestrong). It stimulates cells in the heart that cause the heart rate to increase, which in turn increases blood flow. This also causes an increase in blood sugar, urine production, and body temperature. When consuming caffeine, our heart rate can rise by three beats per minute as soon as 15 minutes later, and it can take up to six hours for our bodies to expel the caffeine through urine.

This can be dangerous for those with heart disease, as it increases both your heart rate and blood pressure. It can also delay your body's ability to slow your heart rate after exercising. However, if you don't have any cardiac issues, consuming moderate amounts of caffeine on a regular basis won't be enough to alter your heart's rhythm and cause irregularities. If you drink high amounts in large quantities, though, you may develop an altered heartbeat rhythm, also known as atrial fibrillation. This has been seen in reports of young people who consume energy drinks with high caffeine levels (via Healthline).