the power of caffeine

Subtitled, I Really Should Know Better

Some lucky people can handle caffeine, others of us not so much. I went 10 years with no caffeine because I know I can't handle it. Then I had a cup here and there and I was ok. Then I got to where I allowed myself one cup per day and I was ok. At least I thought I was. According to my apple watch, my resting rate has been high 80's/low 90's and I was going to mention it to my ep next time I see him. Then with quarantine I've been having two a couple of times a week. And I noticed my resting rate was a lot higher yet the light STILL did not click on that there was a connection. A week ago I went to bed and my rate was 120. That scared me. An atenolol brought it right down and I haven't had a drop of coffee since. And my rate is 69 as I write this. 

So, 1-2 cups of coffee per day had my resting rate elevated a full 20 bpm, even hours after I consumed it. Oh how I will miss my daily iced coffees. And no, not gonna do decaf because my stomach feels a million times better after just one week off coffee. Good bye coffee, I loved you so. Herbal iced tea is a sad, sad, substitute. 


Indeed !!

by Gemita - 2020-06-27 11:18:30

Hi Tracey,

Yes at my first cardiology visit for palpitations and a racing heart my doctor told me no more caffeine or chocolate (latter contains caffeine too), but in my case I haven't been able to enjoy either for years without paying the consequences.  Even a strong cup of tea can give me a racing heart and anything iced cold as well.

I now enjoy a non caffeinated beverage, Barleycup (contains barley, rye and chicory) which is an instant hot drink which you can add milk to.  Not to everyone's taste but works for me.  Oh what we have to do for a quiet heart!!


by Tracey_E - 2020-06-27 11:25:48

It's so sad! It's crazy how the smallest amount can wreak havoc. Yet my husband can drink a caffeinated soda at bedtime and be asleep ten minutes later. Back when I was strict about no caffeine, I noticed even decaf coffee or tea would set me off. It still has a trace. Chocolate never has bothered me, but I don't eat a lot of it. A friend from India gave me her mom's chai recipe, been experimenting with that trying to find something that has a strong enough flavor to go with the spice. Or I'll just stick to water (sad sigh)

I've never heard of Barleycup, where do you find it?

I feel for you

by Theknotguy - 2020-06-27 12:07:43

Had an impacted wisdom tooth.  Doctor's comment was, "We'll worry about that later if it becomes a problem."  It became a problem when the tooth migrated into the sinus and the sinus got infected or the tooth got infected and the sinus couldn't handle it.  Ended up with bacterial pneumonia.  Put me on a strong antibiotic.  I was a big coffee drinker.  So when I started feeling better I had some coffee and got really sick.  Went back to the doctor.  "You had any coffee? You can't have coffee with this antibiotic!"

I don't recommend going cold turkey as a way to get off caffeine.  But I don't recommend having bacterial pneumonia and going through headaches due to caffeine withdrawal and other side effects.  In addition coffee and tea have other drugs besides caffeine in them and those drugs end in either -ine or  -ene too.  You'll find trying to get off those drugs that end in -ine or -ene to be horrendous as in the good ol' US of A we put those drugs in almost everything we eat.  No to mention we also put caffeine in with aspirin products to enhance the effect of aspirin.  However, even though I don't recommend going cold turkey as a way to get off caffeine,  it may be the only way to go.  Was it hard?  Yep, sure was.  Used to walk past a cup of coffee, walk over to the cup, and almost inhale the drink because the coffee and caffeine smelled so good.  Finally figured out I was just torturing myself as I could no longer have the stuff.  Took me over two years before I could walk past a cup of  joe and not stop to take a sniff.  None of the so-called substitutes helped as they weren't "real" coffee.  

Now, with afib I can't go near anything that has caffeine.  Question comes up a lot with my heart doctors and I'm happy to tell 'em I'm completely off caffeine.  I only get it when I don't know it.  

The up side?  Foods taste better.  I'm not on the highs and lows due to caffeine intake and caffeine withdrawal.  No weird heart side effects other than my regular heart problems.  Don't miss the jitters from caffeine either.  And finally, after a few years, I finally didn't miss the coffee either.  Oh, and you do save money because you aren't buying the stuff all the time.  

Two things I did find that helped.  Aspirin (without caffeine) and water with lemon juice.  Aspirin helped with the withdrawal headaches and the water with lemon juice seems to quell the cravings a little.  Mainly by shocking your system into another level.  

Hope you can get off the stuff and stay off.  In the meantime I have empathy and sympathy for what you are going through.  

Yes life is not fair

by Gemita - 2020-06-27 12:08:28

My husband is just the same, he can take a small cup of espresso coffee before bedtime so strong you could stand a spoon up in it.  This then starts his AF off and he just falls asleep.  Both of these would be strong triggers for insomnia for me!!

I find Barleycup in sports shops, health stores here in the UK.  I get mine online from dolphinfitness and I have pasted a link, but I am not sure whether Barleycup is available in the States ?

You might even find an outlet on Amazon(US), since Amazon(UK) sells it, but watch the price is not too high and that it is new and not used !!



by AgentX86 - 2020-06-27 13:32:28

Most, even those with AF tell me I'm crazy but caffeine drives my heart crazy too.  Even after though I'm paced VVIR, caffeine drives my heart crazy.  Interestingly, high-test coffee does it every time.  But other sources, much less so.  Chocolate doesn't bother me at all (and is a good source of magnesium ;-).  I have to drink a lot of caffeinated soda to have a problem.  One large cup is never a problem and when we're out, I have several smaller cups.  But - after one cup of caffeinated Starbucks (awful stuff but it's what they have at work) I thought something serious had gone wrong.  I knew caffeine was a no-no but someone filled the machine with caffienated coffee in the decaf bin.  Of course, people look like you just stepped off Mars when you bitch about being poisoned with coffee.


by Sisterwash65 - 2020-06-27 16:43:03

In the months leading up to my PM placement, I had 2 episodes of “near”fainting. Both of the episodes occurred when I was drinking coffee or had just finished a cup. I’m now drinking one cup of Half Caff ( Keurig ) and Decaf if I have a 2 nd cup.

I've long known I was sensitive to caffeine but I do love it so ! I know I need to quit cold turkey. Maybe tomorrow ???


by Sydney.A95 - 2020-06-27 22:25:47

I am so glad I stumbled across your post today, I have noticed since getting my implant that I have been extra sensitive to caffeine. I was hoping this was a temporary thing as my body adjusts to life with a pacemaker- but I guess it's just something I'll have to live with. At least I know it's something "normal"


by AgentX86 - 2020-06-27 23:04:16

Note that any symptom you have, no matter what it is, to your medical team, "that's normal".  ;-)   Whenever I'd mention something strange, I'd follow it with "Yeah, I know, that's normal".  Sometimes I'd get a chuckle.


by Tracey_E - 2020-06-28 10:34:29

The pacer is metal, it doesn't care how many pots of coffee we drink so there isn't a direct correlation. However, put a sensitivity to caffeine together with a heart with a wonky electrical system, it's not a surprise we are prone to problems. 

You may find that as your body gets used to having a normal heart rate again that you can handle some caffeine. Or not. If you can, have a big giant cup of coffee for me! 

Normal is overrated. :oP


by Marybird - 2020-06-28 22:24:50

I'd be hypersensitive to caffeine, and other stimulants as well, if it were not for the metoprolol I take- 50 mg/day seems to do it. I had taken it for years to control my atrial tachycardia, ( up to 150mg/day) but was taken off it last year to see if diltiazem was better.It wasn't, but boy without that metoprolol when I had a cup of coffee, a square of dark chocolate, I'd feel like I was on speed, and it would last for hours. It'd drive up both the heart rate and blood pressure.

But with the metoprolol added back into the medication arsenal, I could drink an entire pot of strong coffee without effects.

You know you're wired when...

You always have something close to your heart.

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