Why does consuming caffeine cause me shortness of breath?

Why does consuming caffeine cause me shortness of breath?

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  1. Why does consuming caffeine cause me shortness of breath?

    I used to have a similar issue, also with coffee (kind-of) and was short of breath regularly. The doctor checked my Blood oxygen levels and all were good. I am also a runner and normally had no issues maintaining a 9 minute mile for 10+ miles. Yet I regularly felt like I needed to to take deep breaths and they were “felt” unsuccessful.
    About 10 months ago I was reading a book on food allergies related to a need my daughter had and realized that this might be the issue. After numerous months of tracking food and tracking shortness of breath I realized that I had an allergy to cow’s milk. Including the creamer I was using in my coffee.
    As it turns out I had numerous symptoms and was never connecting them together including: shortness of breath, diarrhea one day and constipation the next, anal itching, eczema, lethargy especially the first few hours after ingestion, and a year round, constant running nose (always had tissues with me). All of these symptoms have now gone!
    If your like me then the breathing was not severe enough to call an ambulance but very uncomfortable. I can tell you that removing ALL dairy form my diet has literally changed my life.
    I would suggest you look into any allergies including: food, household chemicals, indoor toxins like molds, clothes detergents, pet allergies, etc…
    It might take months to find but with the help of an allergy doctor I sure you can find the culprit.

  2. I also had some light trouble breathing after having drank a cup of tea or coffee. It feels like I have to take deeper breaths to get all the oxygen I need. Not sure if this qualifies as “dyspnea” but still, it was rather worrying at first.
    I was also diagnosed with reflux (GERD) but nothing else (had chest X-ray, asthma tests: all negative, Spo2 is normal, no hernia, blood tests were normal). So it was suspected that my problem was triggered by something I eat or drink. I’ve been able to keep it under control just by excluding a few types of food: caffeine, onions/garlic, alcohol. I can even take them in small amounts, except for tea and coffee, which for some reason, are a big trigger. I took tea by mistake today (I usually take herbal tea) and sure enough, my breathing is more difficult.
    I exercice frequently and intensively and this problem usually don’t affect me during my training sessions. Hopefully, this is not something I should worry about too much.
    I truly hope that you can find something that works for you. Quitting coffee is not easy but once you’re done, you don’t really need it anymore although you might miss the aroma of the coffee.
    Oh and you’re asking WHY this happens? To be honest, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find the answer to this question. Maybe it’s stomach bloating. Maybe it affects the diaphragm somehow (hiatal hernia could be a cause). I personally don’t see any direct relation between GERD and dyspnea. It is true that acid content from the stomach can go up and reach the larynx, but this tends to make you cough rather than give you breathing problems. So, it’s still a mystery for me.

  3. Caffeine is a stimulant that can cause shortness of breath. Caffeine works by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine is a chemical that normally slows down nerve cell activity. When caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors, the cells become more active and this can cause a racing heart, shortness of breath, and other symptoms.
    I found this really informative video that I think would be of great use to you. Hope so you’ll find it extremely helpful.

  4. I have exactly the same issue. Following a coffee or a few cups of tea I feel that breathing is a conscious activity that become strained and at times uncomfortable. This is also triggered for my by consuming other food/drink such as milk or citrus fruit. I find it all very strange, doctors said it could be GERD and certainly I have noticed discomfort after eating big or spicy meals. However I am 36 and this all started a few years ago, to me it all seems connected – but by what? I would recommend food allergy testing as I believe I am now allergic to many foods, but the caffeine is a mystery to me at the moment.

  5. Caffeine artificially activates your sympathetic nervous system. As a result, your heart rate will rise somewhat, and will stay at an elevated level until the caffeine wears off. If you’re out of shape, this could cause some shortness of breath as your body seeks out additional oxygen to fuel your metabolic reaction to the caffeine. If you’re having serious shortness of breath, it could be the result of an underlying condition in your heart or your circulatory system, but I don’t think drinking coffee usually elicits that strong of an emotional response

  6. Caffeine is a phosphodiesterase inhibitor which causes vasodillation,as a result of vasodillation bloodpressure drops depending on dose,and activates vasomotor reflex in brain which detects drops in blood oxygen and pressure ,it activates sympathetic nervous system and causes increase in heart rate,which is called tachycardia in medical terms .
    Shortness of breath and cardiac arrest is symptom and result of tachycardia.
    I had same issue but didnt know symptoms of tachycardia sadly ,but now i studied ,
    My suggestion is decreasing coffee concentration ,or quitting it step by step if you are a regular coffee drinker ,
    Should not use coffee with drugs like viagra since you are experiencing side effects

    Victor Allen’s

  7. Thank you for the A2A. You already have two good answers by Justin Reddington and an Anonymous. It is surprising that the shortness of breath does not come immediately rather one or two hours after consuming caffeine. Coffee is a stimulant. It increases heart rate, palpitation and blood pressure among many other side effects like dehydration, stomach irritation, insomnia etc.
    You can try homeopathic remedies like Coffia Cruda, Nux Vomica or other indicated antidote under the supervision of a qualified homeopath if these can help you permanently or at least temporary. But, if a food does not suite you, you should always avoid it as prevention is better than cure.
    Hope this helps!

    Eight O’Clock

  8. You might be reacting to the sensation in the chest caused by tachycardia, but they actually suggest giving kids with Asthma some coffee to help their breathing. My kids responded very well to amphetamines which were ordered for learning disabilities, and we used to give stimulants to inc…

  9. Caffiene also gives me shortness of breath but worse it gives me muscle cramps in my neck. It also makes me feel very ill for 2–3 dasys when I stop intake.
    Even drinking decaf can still give me shortness of breath

  10. In case you know yourself diagnosed with anxiety disorder or just know that you are an anxious person, then caffeine would lead you to: not being able to get a full deep breath/dyspnea/shortness of breath symptoms. In my case, I gave up many times cofee for few months intervals but soon or later I came back to it because nothing legal can offer mental focus as the coffee does. By taking drugs from SSRI category, prescribed for anxiety, caffeine does’t trigger anymore breathing issues. A way to decrease the unpleasant sensation in case drugs are not an option, it could be to practice yoga breathing exercises like pranayama(ex: Bastrika), or just laying back down to a mat and relax your breath till you get long pause between breathes. Sometimes works well, sometimes less but just practicing will get better relief.


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