How does caffeine affect our health?
Like all of our question series we answer everything seperately and don't read each others answers till we're all done writing - keeps it more fun that way.
Here we go!
I have a love/hate relationship with caffeine. It’s always appealing to reach for some coffee on those days where i feel too tired to basically get out of bed, and while sometimes it does in-fact help, too often it leaves me feeling more depleted and drained than before I had any. Caffeine with POTS is tricky because (for me) it sometimes gives me the little boost I need, and other times it makes my heart race and my blood pressure drop. Every time I do have caffeine and it makes me feel sick as a result, I feel guilty and mad at myself because ‘I should have known better’. I’m trying to be more strict about quantity when I do have caffeine, and that will hopefully give me the consistency of having a little of the positive side effects with minor (if any) negative ones. I think I get into trouble when I drink too much of something, but what can I say, coffee is just too good! I need to start hunting for a coffee substitute...
Oh caffeine. I used to be an avid coffee drinker - especially in my earlier college years and would depend greatly on it to get me throughout my day. At my worst I was up to 3-4 cups a day. I swear, just holding a cup in my hand used to make me feel better (I was in deep). The side effects of caffeine didn’t used to bother me greatly until my POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) fully kicked in. When that happened, my tolerance went WAY down. I was no longer able to drink coffee without my heart rate going berserk, getting shaky and feeling like I couldn’t breathe. It was really hard for me to cut out caffeine fully - I had bad withdrawals for a few weeks which made me even more symptomatic.
I’ve tried drinks with less caffeine, like teas and sodas, but I find that I’m still extremely sensitive to it's effect on my body. Only recently have I began to cave and I’ll allow myself a few sips of a caffeinated beverage when I’m having a migraine. I have a super hard time tolerating medications, so in-between my Botox sessions when I’m experiencing an onset of a migraine I’ll have a few sips and take some Ibuprofen (which usually helps bring it down a bit).
Knowing myself now and how sensitive I am to basically everything, it’s hard to imagine that I was once able to drink so much coffee without feeling like I needed to be hospitalized. While I desperately miss the taste and that extra energy boost, for me it’s not worth the downside that comes with it.