Does coffee cause heart palpitations? 15



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While moderate coffee consumption has been associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, its association with a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate, has been unclear.

Atrial fibrillation, or AF, is the most frequent form of irregular heartbeat, which causes a substantially increased risk of stroke, heart failure and death, and it has previously been speculated that high coffee consumption could increase your risk of developing the condition.

Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden conducted the largest study to date on the association between coffee consumption and risk of atrial fibrillation.

The study comprised 41,881 men and 34,594 women who reported how many cups of coffee they consumed and were followed up for 12 years. There were 4,311 and 2,730 incident AF cases in men and women, respectively, in the two cohorts. The average daily coffee consumption was three cups among both men and women. The study was followed up with a meta-analysis of four other studies.

And the result?

“We find no evidence that high consumption of coffee increases the risk of atrial fibrillation. This is important because it shows that people who like coffee can safely continue to consume it, at least in moderation, without the risk of developing this condition”, says lead author Susanna Larsson.

Interestingly, the study found that even those who enjoy  “extreme levels of coffee consumption” experienced no increased risk of AF, meaning healthy coffee lovers can enjoy the beverage to their heart’s content.

However (there’s always a but!), although available evidence does not indicate that coffee consumption increases the risk of developing AF specifically, coffee may still trigger other forms of irregular heartbeat.

Data suggests that some individuals with AF at the start of the study may have quit drinking coffee or lowered their consumption because of an arrhythmic-triggering effect, meaning those with heart conditions should seek advice from their doctor on how much coffee they should drink.

Does coffee get your heart pounding? How many cups do you have per day? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I don’t drink coffee, never have, but I suffered from severe food poisoning a few years back. I was desperately ill for a long time afterwards and had no energy or stamina. So my daughter, thinking to help me brought tablets to me that she got from the health food shop. After taking only two, I thought I was going to die. My heart felt like it was going to break free of my chest. Turned out they were loaded the the same stuff that’s in the drinks popular with young people, which is equivalent to massive doses of coffee. Could never work out why I didn’t enjoy coffee, now I glad it’s not on my like list.

  2. I’ve always been relaxed with it. So I will continue to consume a couple of letres a day thankyou. B|

  3. Any kind of caffeine gives both my wife and son heart palpitations. We’ve tested it time and again and proved it is related to caffeine products.

  4. Coffee is rarely exposed for aggravating prostrate problems. I can have a tea or coffee and minutes later have to run to the toilet. A pure Apple juice has the opposite effect, as recommended to me by a Doctor over 50 years ago. Apple juice helps me to stay away from the throne for up to 6 hours. Great when travelling. Alas not as effective at night.
    I also believe coffee is bad for high blood pressure. So I stay off tea and coffee. The exception is weak white tea.
    Once went to a book store and a book on the benefits of coffee was beside a book on the dangers of coffee! Coffee can be good, but not enough warnings out there.

  5. If you develop heart palpitations for any reason, get checked out for Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome. Coffee and energy drinks are sometimes only the trigger if you develop atrial fibrillation. My AF was put down to severe emotional stress and the root cause never diagnosed until some 15 years later. WPW Syndrome is where you are born with 2 “electrical circuits”, and it is not so very uncommon. It’s not very nice to have your heart racing at over 200 beats per second, let me tell you! I was hospitalized some 13 times in one year with suspected heart attacks. It no heart attack has ever happened, but it could have. My two pathways are too close together to be fixed by laser zapping one so I am on medication which both reduces likelihood of palpitations and lowers blood pressure. I can still enjoy my coffee.

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  6. I have low risk AF and rarely drink coffee. White tea drinker without sugar.

  7. I have AF and was told, after I had my heart stopped and rebooted, not to drink any coffee or alcohol or any stimulating drinks. As someone who feels like she is in heaven when walking into the aromas of freshly brewed barista coffee I was devastated. However, my GP later said one coffee in the morning and one glass of wine in the evening should be fine. I grabbed that permission and ran with it and I don’t overstep the allowance. So far I have been episode free for three years and even had surgery on Monday without a problem. The Dome make a decaf so good you feel spoilt rotten having such a delish treat.

  8. When I was a teenager and drank black coffee and smoked I developed heart palpitations then in my sixties I developed AF and was advised to give up caffeine and achohol. They are stimulants and can affect the electrics in the heart. No problems now.

  9. I am aware that coffee has the ability to cause a heart attack in consumed in quantity and strength. It can also be beneficial if restricted to 3 to 4 cups a day.

  10. I’ve had AF for six years and had three Ablations proceeders and my heart stopped and rebooted, I always thought it was coffee and stopped taking it but the AF persisted and became worse so it’s most likely not the cause, I haven’t had full on AF since April this year, I’m not game to have coffee though, I’m a bit of scardy cat but I don’t mind one bit.

    2 REPLY
    • They don’t seem to have any answers why it starts really do they? My one big (so far) episode was after I my daughter lost her third baby (stillborn) and my younger brother was killed in road crash. My youngest brother had just had surgery for brain cancer. I put it down to just too much stress, but I don’t really know. It does turn you into a scardy cat, especially when your heart does the fish jumping out of a bowl thing and feels like it’s stopping.

    • You are so right Linda I’m nearly convinced it’s stress related. My worst episode was when my daughter was having part of her cancerous lung removed, she never smoked in her life, but she’s fine now and a mum with two children. It caused her daughter 9y to stop eating because she thought her mum would die. She dropped 6 kg but is fine now and a few more big worries in the family, just like you, let’s hope we are done with it as its debilitating. I do hope you and your daughter are going to be fine, life throws us some hard crap sometimes, and losing your brother is heartbreaking, thanks for caring Linda.

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