Does caffeine affect mitral valve prolapse?
Yes, it sure does.
Asymptomatic patients report new symptoms when they ingest caffeine, and symptomatic patients find that the intensity of their existing symptoms is amplified considerably after consuming it.
Medical professionals agree that eliminating caffeine is important for people living with the condition.
Here’s what you need to know the mitral valve prolapse caffeine effects…
Caffeine Stimulates the Nervous System
The central nervous system supplies the heart, brain, and organs with nerves. The body becomes active when it is stimulated. For example, if you wanted to raise your leg, the brain would send a signal to the nerves and muscles of that leg, prompting it to carry out the intended action.
Our visceral organs (the ones that we do not consciously control) continuously perform functions like breathing, swallowing, and digestion, without us thinking about it. However, everything that we do, breathe in, and consume (in this case, caffeine) has an effect on these organs through the autonomic part of the nervous system – which tends to be sensitive in people living with mitral valve prolapse.
Caffeine Is a Drug
While caffeine is legal and widely used, it is a stimulant. Stimulants are psychoactive drugs – chemical substances that cross the blood–brain barrier and affect the central nervous system.
When you ingest caffeine, the central nervous system is stimulated and the body experiences an adrenaline-like energy surge that affects us. A process takes place internally wherein the blood vessels dilate and blood floods the body’s organs and limbs, producing physical effects.
The result is usually increased energy, decreased coordination, tremors, and feelings of anxiety. Gastrointestinal distress is also a common side effect. The more caffeine you consume, the more noticeable the effects tend to be. The heart experiences effects, as well.
How Does Caffeine Affect Mitral Valve Prolapse?
Caffeine causes the heart to beat harder, faster, and irregularly (palpitations). When the heart has to work harder, the faulty mitral valve is forced to work harder, too. Then, problems may arise.
The bicuspid valve regulates the flow of blood between the heart’s upper left atrium chamber and lower left ventricle chamber. With MVP, rather than forming a tight seal, the cusps (flaps) responsible for opening and closing the valve prolapse back into the atrium, which can allow blood from the left ventricle to leak back into the atrium (mitral regurgitation). The effects of caffeine on the heart can aggravate this process. Over time, the ventricle’s wall may thicken, and complications may develop.
Caffeine and MVP: Complications
The left ventricle (the main pumping chamber of the heart) serves an important function. It receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and pumps it to the rest of the body.
If the force of the ventricular contractions is not strong enough, then the body’s organs do not receive the amount of oxygen that they need to function normally. As a consequence, troublesome mitral valve prolapse symptoms may occur, particularly chest pain, breathlessness, and fatigue.
As the ventricle’s wall thickens and excess strain is placed on the atrium over a period of time, overall function is impaired and complications such as pulmonary hypertension, blood clotting (stroke), atrial fibrillation, and congestive heart failure may develop in the prolapsing patient.
Preventing MVP Symptoms and Complications
Does caffeine affect mitral valve prolapse? Yes, and it is best to eliminate it from of your diet if you have this condition. At the very least, sufferers should try to consume a lot less of it.
Note that caffeine isn’t only present in coffee and tea; it can also be found in non-cola sodas, energy drinks, chocolate, breath fresheners, weight loss pills, medications (painkillers), and more. And yes, decaf coffee contains caffeine, too, in case you were wondering – about 5 mg per cup.
Although most people with MVP do not develop serious symptoms and complications, these can be triggered or aggravated by foods, so research foods to avoid with mitral valve prolapse. Giving up caffeine won’t fix your condition, but it should make you feel better and lower your risk of problems.