Could your racing heart be caused by caffeine?

It is not uncommon to hear patients say that, when they started experiencing racing or skipping a heartbeat, they stopped drinking caffeinated beverages. In general, there is a widespread perception that caffeine may be a root cause of a racing heart, even in light of our overwhelming consumption of caffeinated products, including energy drinks, coffee, and energy supplements.

Caffeine is a natural product that is derived from the raw fruit that grows on coffee plants. Some tea leaves also have caffeine, as does cocoa, kola nuts, and yerba maté. When we consume caffeine, the chemical is absorbed by the body within 30 minutes to an hour.

Caffeine And Your Heart

Whether you feel its effects or not, the fact is that caffeine does affect the heart. When caffeine is consumed in substantial amounts (and that can be a single energy drink), the level of epinephrine rises in the blood. You may not recognize this name, epinephrine, but you may know what adrenaline is, and it’s the same thing. When the body has high levels of adrenaline, blood pressure and the force of the heartbeat increases. Heart rate may also increase, but usually only slightly. For the person who is more susceptible to abnormal heart rhythms, caffeine may cause palpitations or skipped beats.

The uncomfortable sensations of increased heart beating and force are normal responses to high doses of caffeine. Typically, symptoms decrease as the body processes caffeine and its resulting epinephrine. In the susceptible person, though, it can take several minutes, hours, or even days for heart rhythm to return to normal.

Should You Stop Drinking Caffeine?

In most cases, a person will build up a tolerance to caffeine over time and the heart-thumping effects will decrease. If symptoms are severe or persist long after caffeine consumption has occurred, there is a good reason to contact your doctor. A thorough examination and specific cardiac screenings may also be beneficial if you develop symptoms such as a racing or skipping heartbeat after years of regular caffeine consumption, as your sensations may originate from a source other than caffeine.

Premier Cardiology Consultants provides diagnostic and clinical care for a range of cardiac symptoms. To learn more about our services or to arrange a visit, call 516-437-5600.

 

You Might Also Enjoy...

What to Expect During Holter Monitoring

Does your heart feel like it’s beating too fast? Feeling dizzy on and off? Having more palpitations than usual? You might need a Holter monitoring test. Find out what that is and what it reveals about your heart.

Are Heart Problems Genetic?

Genes do play a role in many heart problems. However, if you’re paying attention, your family history can serve as an early warning system for preventing severe illness. Check out the facts about how DNA affects heart health.

What is Atrial Flutter?

Atrial flutter is related to a short circuit in your heart’s electrical system that causes your heart to beat too quickly. Learn more about this potentially dangerous disorder that increases your stroke and heart failure risk.

The Best Heart-Healthy Foods

Your diet plays a significant role in preventing heart disease, but a heart-healthy diet doesn’t mean you have to avoid tasty foods. Our specialty team provides tips on developing menus that please your taste buds as well as your heart.

What You Should Know About Defibrillators

Defibrillators are common in hospital emergency rooms and ambulances. Many workplaces and community gathering sites also have a portable version in their first aid kit. Find out what these life-saving medical devices can and can’t do.