Mercy Cardiologist Dr. Peter Reyes Discusses The Impact of Caffeine on Heart Health

February 3, 2020
The Heart Center at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

Debra Utterbaugh used to drink multiple cups of coffee every day.

"I was a six- to eight-cup coffee drinker a day, just because I love the taste of it," she said.

But Utterbaugh has a serious heart condition and has had two heart attacks. Her cardiologist, Dr. Peter Reyes of The Heart Center at Mercy, limits her to one cup a day because caffeine in high doses can cause the heart to beat improperly.

"For most people, one to two cups of coffee is probably good for you. But for certain people with certain illnesses, it can be damaging," Dr. Reyes said.

Sometimes even someone with a healthy heart, such as athletes looking to increase their performance and students looking to stay awake, can overdo it.

"Today's world doesn't help that with these high energy drinks and caffeinated beverages. We see in our office, people can lead themselves into arrhythmias. I've seen atrial fibrillation due to high caffeine content beverages. I've seen that multiple times, and just by stopping caffeine these pathologies disappear," Dr. Reyes said.

Signs that you're consuming too much caffeine include feeling anxious and jittery, having heart palpitations and insomnia.
Utterbaugh admits she misses her multiple cups of coffee and certainly savors the one she's allowed to have.

"No one can bother me when I have my cup of coffee in the morning. I sometimes even wait for my kids to go off to school before I have my first cup. I just sit there and enjoy it," she said.

View Mercy cardiologist Dr. Peter Reyes’ interview regarding caffeine and its impact on your heart health.


Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: dcollins@mdmercy.com Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on FacebookTwitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.

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