By Nurse Diane
On March 5th, Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela passed away from cancer. Although they didn't specify what type of cancer he suffered from, there was mention that he drank 40 cups of coffee every day. When I mentioned this tidbit to a friend of mine, he said he also drank that much a day, but now only drinks 2 or 3 cups. While doing my clinical rotation through psychology nursing, I was required to attend an AA meeting. One of the first things I noticed was the coffee. everyone was downing coffee like there was no tomorrow. While doing my research on caffeine, I learned that the effects of caffeine on the body closely resemble the effects of cocaine. Many people who are addicted to one substance will usually transfer that addiction to something else, whether it be drugs, alcohol, smoking or caffeine.
Some folks think that since there is no government regulation on caffeine, that any amount is safe for you. Most people can drink about three 8 oz servings without any problems. According to livestrong.com, ingesting more than 500 to 600 mg of caffeine per day is considered heavy use and may lead to physical side effects caused by both the addictive potential and stimulating effects of caffeine. Heavy use and abuse may result in restlessness, rapid heart rate, nausea, muscle tremors and insomnia. Lack of sleep from caffeine use can lead to ongoing sleep disturbances, fatigue, and a decline in physical performance and energy levels. Caffeine abuse can eventually lead to addiction, and you will need to ingest caffeine on a regular basis to avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and mood changes. Caffeine abuse can lead to psychological symptoms such as anxiety and irritability, and withdrawal from caffeine causes marked nervousness and depression leading to reduced motivation and sleeplessness.
Caffeine is found in coffee, tea and chocolate. To calculate how much you drink, check out the chart here: http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000131000000000000000-1.html?
You can also test your caffeine knowledge here to see if you have a problem drinking too much: http://www.caffeineawareness.org/quiz.htm I have never been a big coffee drinker, I may have 2 or 3 cups a week if its cold outside, I don't drink any soft drinks, and I just have a glass of tea for Sunday lunch. I do like chocolate, but I also limit that to a small piece a day.
March is National Caffeine Awareness Month and if you need help decreasing the amount of caffeine you have or would just like to talk to someone about it, click on this site for more information. http://www.caffeineawareness.org/
(All images from Google)