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Why does coffee make my heart pump so hard?

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By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

Dr, whenever I take my favoured coffee in the evening, my heart pumps very hard and I cannot sleep well. What can I do about this, since as a Muslim, I cannot take alcohol in the evenings when I am out with my friends? Musa

Coffee is a beverage which, in Uganda, is mainly taken in the morning as part of breakfast and in the evening. However, coffee may be taken as berries, chocolate, or in drinks such as soda, or energy drinks.
Since coffee naturally has a stimulant compound caffeine, it is usually taken by those who may, for one reason or another want to keep alert, say to study at night like students preparing for examinations do.

However, when some people take lots of coffee especially as a beverage, they may complain of drowsiness, headaches, nervousness, a strong heartbeat (palpitations) and dizziness, among others.

One can learn to reduce the amounts of coffee taken or take decaffeinated coffee to avoid these effects without giving up his favourite drink which also has health benefits.

The benefits include a reduced risk of developing diabetes, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, heart or liver disease, colon, breast and prostate cancers and gallstones among other good effects.

Ugandans should take annual medical tests so that they do not get tested only when they fall sick because then it may be difficult to stem ailments when they are already advanced.


You need to visit your doctor for a check-up in case the coffee is actually helping you to unearth other health problems, say to the heart or even high blood pressure, which on their own may cause palpitations.

Even when one does not get palpitations after taking coffee, people who get sleep problems should avoid caffeinated drinks at night, whether a cup of coffee, sodas or energy drinks. This includes energy drinks mixed with alcohol, a combination which makes the consumers misjudge the amounts they are taking.

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