Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => The Knowledge => Health & Fitness => Topic started by: Gandalf on August 12, 2012, 12:30:45 pm

Title: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: Gandalf on August 12, 2012, 12:30:45 pm
Rode to work yesterday, about five minutes in, which is uphill,  I had some chest discomfort and increased heart rate.  Not chest pains as such, but it felt like a kind of fluttery indigestion with tightness in the chest.  I wasn't wearing my HRM but it felt like it was going like the clappers. I also felt mildly nauseous.  Slightly disconcerting I must admit.

I didn't stop but I slowed right down to 10 mph.  After I got stuck at a red light for ages I gradually felt better.

The reason I mention the coffee is that yesterday I let my coffee go cold and swigged it down like a swift half just as I was leaving.  It was only instant muck,  black made with two heaped teaspoons.

Anyone else had this?
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: claireysmurf on August 12, 2012, 12:38:12 pm
I am an avid coffee drinker and hills often make me feel like this. I assumed it was because I am more ambitious than fit and 4 stone overweight (and asthmatic too).
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: rogerzilla on August 12, 2012, 12:38:57 pm
Yes, but only after four cups in quick succession.  It can also make you flushed and temporarily (extremely) myopic.  Not nice.
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: loadsabikes on August 12, 2012, 12:46:54 pm
serves you right for drinking "instant" ;)
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: LEE on August 12, 2012, 12:50:07 pm
I've had bit of heart flutter after too much strong coffee.
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: hellymedic on August 12, 2012, 01:26:43 pm
Caffeine is well-known for causing the heart to speed up; you could just have been unlucky. I'd be cautious for now.
See your doc if it happens again.
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: Rev Will on August 12, 2012, 03:39:22 pm
Caffeine takes 20 minutes to kick in properly. Also, one cup shouldn't have that effect in a regular drinker. Do what hellymedic said if it happens again.
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: AndyK on August 12, 2012, 03:56:32 pm
I've just been through a battery of tests for recurring heart palpitations: ECG, three day R test, calcium score, exercise echocardiogram stress test. No heart disease found. Everything normal

They aren't painful, they just feel like a gerbil flipping out in the chest for a few seconds. They tend to come on about forty minutes into a ride, and then recur each time I exert myself. They can feel like trapped wind that needs to be burped out.

Docs say they're nothing to worry about. But I do find them disconcerting and can lead to anxiety (which may explain your tight chest feeling, but I am not a doctor) and I do tend to slow my ride pace if they happen.

If they keep happening, see your GP.
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: hellymedic on August 12, 2012, 04:40:15 pm
Sometimes taking in a deep breath, holding it and straining (Valsalva manœuvre) can abort an attack of palpitations.
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: Giropaul on August 12, 2012, 06:17:05 pm
I know an ex-pro who was getting some very worrying (for him) symptoms including a racing heart rate.

The doctor pinned it down to the excellent espresso machine in the bike shop he worked in - it was so good that he was having 5 or 6 espressos a day. No more espressos = no more symptoms.
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: andygates on August 12, 2012, 06:27:28 pm
I can add a personal anecdote to that one.  I had racing heart and palpitations back in the day.  My doctor took a quick EEG to check there was nothing pathological, then asked about coffee.  I was working evenings at a nerdhaus with free coffee in the jug, getting through about a jug a night all on my own.

He told me to stop that.

I did.  My heart stopped fucking around.  :thumbsup:

Caffeine has a short half-life, in the order of hours, so if you avoid it for a couple of days you're clear.  Easy to experiment.
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: hellymedic on August 12, 2012, 06:36:57 pm
Errr... Andy, the EEG records branewaves, the ECG records the heart.
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: Sergeant Pluck on August 12, 2012, 06:40:11 pm
In my line of work I meet quite a number of people who have palpitations but with no underlying cause found after investigation. Usually, at some point it will be mentioned that they have either been advised to lay off the caffeine by a cardiologist, or that they know from experience that caffeine is a factor, or both.

Rode to work yesterday, about five minutes in, which is uphill,  I had some chest discomfort and increased heart rate.  Not chest pains as such, but it felt like a kind of fluttery indigestion with tightness in the chest.  I wasn't wearing my HRM but it felt like it was going like the clappers. I also felt mildly nauseous.  Slightly disconcerting I must admit.

I didn't stop but I slowed right down to 10 mph.  After I got stuck at a red light for ages I gradually felt better.

The reason I mention the coffee is that yesterday I let my coffee go cold and swigged it down like a swift half just as I was leaving.  It was only instant muck,  black made with two heaped teaspoons.

Anyone else had this?

If it reoccurs, seek advice on it, as you also mention some chest discomfort and tightness (although such sensations can be associated with palpitations in those who turn out to have no underlying issues).
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: AndyK on August 12, 2012, 06:43:46 pm
I should add that I'm decaf only, and have been decaf for about five years.
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: Gandalf on August 12, 2012, 07:26:23 pm
Thanks peeps, I think I'll keep an eye on it, I was probably dehydrated as well. 

Getting up in the morning and having nothing to drink apart from a glorified diuretic is probably not a good idea in this weather.
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: Jakob on August 12, 2012, 08:21:34 pm
I had  similar a few years back. Turned out to be plain 'ol heartburn. (Which can also be caused by coffee).
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: hellymedic on August 12, 2012, 08:33:17 pm
Caffeine does not act as a diuretic if you're dehydrated.
You might still be better off with a different drink.
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: Jacomus on August 13, 2012, 09:58:23 am
Thanks peeps, I think I'll keep an eye on it, I was probably dehydrated as well. 

Getting up in the morning and having nothing to drink apart from a glorified diuretic is probably not a good idea in this weather.

Strong coffee without breakfast gives me the shakes and speeds up my heart.
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: hellymedic on August 13, 2012, 12:18:45 pm
For those who think Three Letter Acronyms (TLAs) should be explained whenever they first appear, PAT means Paroxysmal Atrial Tachycardia...
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: hellymedic on August 13, 2012, 01:25:07 pm
I can't cope with acronyms so I expect not to be confused by their use but YMMV.
Title: Re: Can coffee intake cause a rapid heartrate?
Post by: nightrider on August 14, 2012, 02:51:51 pm
Iv'e had palpitations for about 10 years now and they really freaked me out when I started getting them :oI had chest x ray,ECG and a stress test.Result- No problem detected.What causes mine is excessive alcohol,IE getting pissed, stress and strong coffee.Iv'e learnt to ignore them now.