Pericarditis is the inflammation of pericardium, which is a fluid filled sac-like tissue surrounding the heart. Pericardium keeps the heart in position and prevents it from shifting during physical activity. It becomes a diseased condition when the fluid inside the pericardium increases and leads to the formation of pericardial effusion, which in turn alter heart function.
Pericarditis is broadly classified into acute pericarditis, which is a sudden onset and clears sooner with proper medications and chronic pericarditis, which is slow progressing and symptoms persist for over 3 months.
The classic symptom of both acute and chronic pericarditis is chest pain in the mid-chest area that might radiate to the upper back/neck area. On lying down, the chest pain is usually worsened, but alleviates on sitting up. The chest pain is also related to difficulty/painful breathing. The other symptoms found in pericarditis are fever, chills, dysphagia, fatigue, shortness of breath and malaise. It usually affects men between the ages of 20 to 50 years.
Etiology of pericarditis is idiopathic in nature, but has been suggested to be related to infectious etiology such as virus or bacterial. It is also more common in individuals with autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, IBS and other causes include trauma to chest area, cancer, radiation therapy to chest area, immunosuppressants and other drugs.
The diagnosis of pericarditis is made keeping in mind the past medical history, physical examination and confirming with other tests such as electrocardiogram, chest X-ray or echocardiogram. Pericarditis is treated to reduce inflammation and chest pain symptoms with NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen, antibiotics if bacteria are the cause of infection, colchicines and on occasion’s steroids.
What Is Caffeine?
Caffeine is known to be a central nervous system stimulant that reversibly blocks the action of adenosine known to cause drowsiness. The most common sources of caffeine are coffee, tea, chocolates, energy drinks and soft drinks. It is also found in guarana, yerba mate and kola nuts and is also available in prescription as well as OTC medications. Caffeine is mostly used for its nervous system stimulant effect, which enhances performance by increasing concentration, mental alertness and wakefulness thus preventing drowsiness.
US FDA has classified caffeine safe under 500 mg daily dose for an adult for coffee/tea intake. Caffeine becomes toxic if consumed above 10 g per day adult dose. Caffeine is found in some headache, migraine or weight loss medications, also has been shown to have protective effect against diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. It is also used in premature infants for apnea treatment and also for the prevention and treatment of bronchopulmonary dysplasia in them.
Caffeine also has addictive effect when taking greater than 100 mg per day. Caffeine is also associated with some side effects such as increase in blood pressure, acid reflux, dehydration associated with diuresis, increased heart rate, mild anxiety and insomnia.
What Is The Relationship Between Pericarditis And Caffeine?
Caffeine has been shown to cause some effects on heart such as increased blood pressure and increased heart rate. There have been various studies to bridge a link between coronary heart disease and caffeine intake and the deleterious effects of caffeine on the progression of coronary heart disease. The studies are still ongoing, but there is still no substantial relation between caffeine and coronary heart disease.
Coffee and tea that contain caffeine have become a daily requirement of each and every house hold, but there have been no studies that point toward the progression of pericarditis due to caffeine intake. Caffeine has very mild adverse effects depending on its intake, but 1 to 2 cups of coffee/tea is not found to be harmful and considered safe. There has been no direct relationship between pericarditis and caffeine. However, if some individuals are more sensitive to caffeine and experience some side-effects then they should limit its intake and talk about it with their medical practitioner. In general, caffeine in moderate doses is safe for daily intake.