Is There Really Such A Thing As Caffeine Allergy?
One does not often hear about caffeine allergy. Whenever food allergies are discussed, talk usually turns to such products as shellfish, peanuts, milk or eggs, and soy or wheat. Part of the reason for this is, while not a rare thing, an allergic reaction to caffeine is not all that common either. Another reason is when an allergic reaction does occur, it's often misdiagnosed, and the blame is not placed where it belongs, on caffeine. A third reason is, when people do suffer from a caffeine allergy, they symptoms are often so light that they aren't even noticed. Finally, a reaction to a particular food may not be due to the presence of caffeine at all, but rather due to a foreign agent, such as a pesticide, or an additive, improperly introduced into the raw food product. If you have an allergic reaction to coffee but it does not recur, chances are it was not the caffeine which was to blame. If the problem recurs, and gets worse, it's more than likely that caffeine is the culprit.
We do know that too much caffeine can cause problems. Two many cups of coffee can cause jittery behavior, irritability, and some people will have trouble sleeping if they drink any coffee in addition to what they normally drink for breakfast. In the past, coffee has at times been portrayed as being a beverage that isn't particularly good for us. The fact of the matter appears to be that coffee, and the caffeine it contains, is generally not bad for us, and under some circumstances might even be good for us. If we don't drink enough of it for the caffeine to have toxic effects, and if we don't have a caffeine allergy, there's certainly something to be said for a beverage that gets us off to a good start every day.
Not all good food contains caffeine; it may just seem like it at first. Coffee is not alone as a source of caffeine. A caffeine allergy may have as its trigger chocolate, green tea, black tea, and most cola drinks. Too much caffeine is not good for us, but when we ingest significant amounts of it (say 6 or 7 cups of coffee a day) we not only develop a tolerance for it, but unfortunately at the same time we can develop an allergy to it. When we develop a caffeine allergy, we cannot metabolize the caffeine efficiently; it is absorbed by the body's organs, and being a natural diuretic, pulls fluids from them. In the process we may suffer ill effects.
Symptoms Of Caffeine Allergy - The symptoms of caffeine allergy can range from unnoticeable to mild to quite severe. Milder, yet noticeable symptoms include itchy skin, a dry mouth or a tingling sensation in the mouth, and swelling of the throat, usually minor. More severe symptoms are increasing muscle pain, agitation and irritability, and anxiety including the onset of panic attacks (Fight or Flight syndrome). Caffeine can increase our level of activity. We all know that, a caffeine allergy often goes a step further, producing hyperactive behavior, and obsessive compulsive behavior. In the most severe cases the allergic reaction can mimic mental health disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder, and even Schizophrenia.
Treatment, Time For Will Power - Treatment of caffeine allergy involves nothing more than removing any and all of the offending food items from the diet. In this case, finding acceptable substitutes for the morning coffee, or the piece of chocolate cake, may be half the battle, but is important to find these substitutes to avoid relapses. The treatment of is far easier than diagnosing the allergy in the first place.
In summary, caffeine allergy is not a common occurrence, yet some people do experience it. It is not to be confused with caffeine toxicity. Symptoms can vary from barely noticeable (itchy skin), to more severe (irritability, muscle pain), to very severe (symptoms mimicking mental illness or instability). The main problem, common to many other allergies, is to identify the source. Once this has been accomplished, treatment consists of eliminating foods containing caffeine from the diet.