Friday, 8 January 2010

Coffee intolerance

This is SO unfair: I am literally close to tears today. My last remaining "vice" (or pleasure and I think we're all entitled to some enjoyment in life) - coffee - has begun causing me intolerable symptoms.

Look, I've already had to give up alcohol, I gave up smoking (I gave up sex more years ago than I care to admit), I've given up chocolate and anything else that contains processed sugar, I don't regularly eat meat, nor junk or processed foods, I've always been intolerant of fizzy drinks (I only drink boring plain water and disgusting green tea the rest of the time); when that also began to make me nauseous, I stopped having milk and dairy; I restrict my carbohydrates, eat only minimal amounts of wheat or gluten ...

There really isn't much else I can give up - besides breathing - and, frankly, I may as well give that up too the way things are going and considering what quality of life I have left - i.e. not much.

After suffering a severely upset stomach on Monday morning, I didn't even fancy any coffee and, to be honest, I haven't even had the energy to make one for the last few days (mother can't work my coffee machine and isn't about to learn), so I've had to go without, until this morning.

However, today quite sever and unpleasant symptoms: trembling or shaking (any more severe and I'd worry about Parkinson's) started right after I drank only the second cup. It's hard to describe, but I also feel generally unwell, my balance is off like a drunk; while making myself food, I kept dropping things, then I developed a headache, began having hot flushes and trying to pin down a thought from amongst the electrical storm going on in my brain is hit and miss.

These all reduced a tiny bit after I had something to eat at lunch time, but is still going on now and I guess I just have to wait a few hours for the coffee to work its way out of my system.

This is not a new problem, because I remember discussing my tremors with a friend back in the late 80s, but recently, I've already been forced to ration myself to only one, or the occasional two cups of coffee per day, because any more than that started to make me feel a bit hyper.

Now I cannot manage to get my foggy brain around the science, but I feel sure that this is all linked to the central nervous system and specifically to dopamine and cortisol levels.
After centuries of disrespect and scorn, no one questions the validity of Parkinson’s disease today. It is ironic that the same neurotransmitter, dopamine, appears to play a control role in another enigma: fibromyalgia. The historic similarities are striking as evidence of dopaminergic control mechanisms begin to emerge with respect to pain, sleep, arousal and the autonomic nervous system. Each of these central nervous system functions are relevant to fibromyalgia, but hopefully FM will be sorted out and effectively treated more quickly compared to Parkinson’s disease patients. [Source]
Today's episode is the second in recent months, which leads me to believe that my tolerance level to caffeine is reducing further. Will my tolerance end up a zero? I certainly hope not, but the signs aren't encouraging and I fear that I may also have to give up coffee just to keep my symptoms down to a level at which I can still function at even the most basic level. It's too much to bear.

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Elizabeth, Ontario, Canada said...

I can relate to what you are going through!

I have been having the same episodes with coffee! Not all the time but about once a week (after a cup or two) I get the shakes, tremors, and feel basically like a jangle of nerves. Once I eat or rest for abit it seems to decrease in severity.

I really hope your body settles down and does not banish the coffee for good. You need at least one "vice" in this crazy world!

Take care!

Scribbles said...

Unfortunately, I relate too. I can't tolerate sugar very well and so a cup of coffee often stood in for my pudding or was an afternoon treat. Last year I started getting migraine's with every cup and stopped. I started drinking a cup every other day recently and seemed OK, but I've just stopped again because I noticed tell tale migraine signs coming back. I too can't tolerate any other drink and so it's water all the way (warm or fizzy sometimes, just for variety)

On the Parkinson's note, my dad suffers with that. At first he was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and when I read up on that, yep, he had a lot of those symptoms. He got so bad that some days he could hardly walk and he told me he felt he was slowed becomming paralysed. He was very very sick. His GPs advice was to "take a long holiday". It was a nutritionist who diagnosed Parkinsons, and hey presto! With that diagnosis he now gets excellent support and treatment.

It is a stinking injustice that fibromyalgia and ME sufferers are shut out by the medical industry.

Pamela said...

Well, I think I'm glad to know it isn't just me.

I've now reduced my coffee intake to 0-1 cups (depending how I feel), morning only. 1 cup is producing symptoms, but they are mild enough to put up with. I guess the next step is to get an even smaller cup, then try decaf or substitutes, such as dandelion root. Don't fancy any of them!

I've been uming and ahing over spending £100 for tests with a locally recommended nutritionist. What you say Scribbles makes me once more think that this might be £100 very well spent.


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