The Dangerous Effects of Caffeine

coffeeAs a young adult, coffee ruled my life. I didn’t mean for it to happen. I didn’t even like coffee. But having to be at my desk at the print shop at 7 a.m. was not easy for this night owl. At first I simply enjoyed the aroma from afar. Then, I’d pour myself a cup to get that smell a little closer. I’d hold the mug in my hands to warm them between jobs.

The next thing you know, I was sipping. Not too much at first. One must acquire a taste for coffee. But it didn’t take me long. Next thing you know, I soon downed the entire mug, black, and going for more. I became a regular at the office coffee bar. The last straw was buying my own Mr. Coffee for the apartment so I could indulge on the weekend.

Isn’t that how every addiction begins? First a glance, then a smell, then one sip at a time. Once I knew I couldn’t make it through a day without a pot of java, I determined to cut back. That didn’t work. So I quit—cold turkey. The effects resembled a druggy going through DT’s.

  • Massive headaches
  • The shakes
  • Uncontrollable nervousness
  • Blood-shot eyes
  • Inability to crawl out of bed
  • Depression
  • Disorientation

Then I was free—until I met my mother-in-law. Another one caught in the clutches of this legal lethal substance, she’s a sly one, and oh, so sweet. How could I resist her urgings to have just one cup. Before you could say Jack Robinson I was falling off the wagon.

This roller-coaster ride of caffeine addiction went on for years before I finally conquered it—for good. But now, 20 years later, I’m finding that it’s not only more readily available, it’s cool. It’s expected, and it’s downright in-your-face.

I honestly believe that if caffeine was sold in little vials in back alleys, dark stairwells, or in truck stop locker rooms, it would be illegal. But it’s not; and it’s not. And I didn’t realize how scary it had become until I found “energy shots” in my son’s car.

Several medications should not be taken while consuming caffeine. A few are:

  • Antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin.
  • Bronchodilators such as theophylline
  • Herbs such as Echinacea
  • And some over-the-counter preparations, like Excedrin, already contain caffeine. So if you take them you are getting more in your system than you realize.

So what’s the problem?

Maybe you feel you handle your caffeine addiction just fine and would rather I butt out of your business. But let me give you a few things to think about, then you decide.

  • An article on reports “Data from two large, long-term women’s health studies suggest a connection between high caffeine intake and precancerous or high-risk breast lesions.” If I were a woman with sore, cystic breasts, I would re-evaluate my caffeine intake.
  • The amount of caffeine in 2-3 cups of coffee can significantly raise your blood pressure.
  • Caffeine impairs insulin action. If you have type-2 diabetes, and struggle to keep your blood sugar under control, you should limit your caffeine consumption.
  • Caffeine can interfere with sleep and sleep patterns. If you work in a field that requires a good night’s sleep, have small children that wake you up in the night, or are in the time of life that sleep evades, eliminating caffeine from your diet is in order.
  • Suffer from irregular or rapid heartbeats? Caffeine is known to aggravate the symptoms.
  • Caffeine, coffee in particular, is known to aggravate stomach issues. If you suffer from indigestion or heartburn, have a peptic ulcer or irritable bowel syndrome, or any other non-ulcer stomach pain, you should greatly limit or eliminate your intake of coffee.

I finally gave up coffee for good because it caused extreme pain in my stomach. If coffee bothers your stomach, too, next week I will share a way to prepare it that will not only reduce its caffeine content, but also reduce the stomach-burning acids.

How about you? Share your struggles with caffeine in the comment section below.

Photo by doug88888


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