Caffeine Side Effects

by on January 6, 2012


Caffeine is a regular part of many mornings in the daily cup of coffee. Regular drinkers of caffeine may swear by its ability to keep them focused and energized throughout the grueling work day.  Despite these benefits, there are many less pleasant caffeine side effects that consumers of this product should be aware of. The most common of these are jitteriness, insomnia and nausea. Individuals who consume too much caffeine may experience ringing in the ears, rapid heartbeat and confusion as well.

Common Caffeine Side Effects

Caffeine Side EffectsThe severity of side effects is often related directly to how much caffeine a person a takes and how accustomed they are to using caffeine products.

Individuals who consume several cups of coffee every day may not notice any effects, but someone who rarely encounters caffeine is much more likely to experience a noticeable reaction. The most common side effects of caffiene include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Sleeplessness
  • Shakiness
  • Headache

The above side effects may occur even at the recommended dosage of the product. If caffeine is consumed in large amounts, additional side effects that may occur include:

  • Agitation
  • Tremors
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Extreme sensitivity of the senses
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Flushing

Serious Caffeine Side Effects

Some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to caffeine. If any of the following side effects occur, you may be allergic to the product and should contact a healthcare professional immediately:

  • Rash or hives
  • Tightness of the chest
  • Itchiness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the face or throat

In rare cases, individuals may experience a severe and dangerous reaction to caffeine. If any of the following severe side effects occur, you should contact a doctor immediately.

  • Severe shakiness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Caffeine and Bipolar Disorder

Caffeine may aggravate bipolar disorder. At least one recorded instance indicates that an individual with bipolar disorder experienced a severe episode of mania after consuming too much caffeine. Patients with bipolar disorder should be aware of the potential caffeine side effects and take care to consume only moderate amounts.

Caffeine and Diabetes

Though still largely unproven, some evidence suggests that caffeine may affect the way the body uses sugar. Individuals with diabetes should take care to carefully monitor their blood sugar levels in relation to their caffeine intake to determine how it affects them.

Caffeine and Osteoporosis

Too much caffeine can be dangerous for patients with osteoporosis. A common caffeine side effect is increased urination. This flushes calcium out of the system and can worsen osteoporosis. Individuals with this condition should limit their caffeine intake to 300 mg a day.

Caffeine with Pre-existing Conditions

Side effects may worsen a number of preexisting conditions. Be careful with your caffeine intake if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Heart problems
  • Glaucoma
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety disorders

If you are concerned about caffeine side effects in relation to one of these conditions but do not want to give up your daily consumption of caffeine, you should consult your doctor about safe amounts and forms of caffeine that will have the least impact on your health.

Regular consumption of caffeine over a long period of time can create a dependency on this energy-booster. If you try to stop you caffeine intake abruptly, you may experience withdrawal symptoms including

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • irritability
  • drowsiness.

To reduce these side effects, cut back gradually over time.

Side effects in men and women can range from mildly uncomfortable to seriously disruptive. It is recommended that caffeine intake for children be limited as much as possible. Sodas and candies are unhealthy for a variety of reasons, but the hazards of too much caffeine offer one more incentive to keep them away from the younger crowd. If you experience any disturbing side effects, the best course of action is to gradually cut back and possibly even quit the cycle entirely.