Caffeine and Swollen Lips

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Swollen lips is a concerning symptom that needs the evaluation of your doctor. Lip swelling often is associated with a severe allergic reaction that could cause death if not promptly treated. Caffeine, like any other drug, can cause an abnormal reaction of your immune system, leading to an allergic reaction. If you develop swollen lips, call 911 immediately.

Caffeine and Lip Swelling

Caffeine is sold in oral supplement form to aid in mental alertness and to keep you awake. It is also found in some over-the-counter pain relievers. Caffeine is naturally found in coffee, tea, sodas and chocolate. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says that about 5 to 10 percent of people develop an allergic reaction to every drug. If you have other drug, food or airborne allergens, you are at greater risk of developing an allergic reaction to other chemicals, such as caffeine. If your lips swell, it is a sign of a severe reaction that may lead to life-threatening symptoms.

Cause

Although various chemicals are released during an allergic reaction, such as immunological E antibodies, histamine is the primarily chemical that triggers inflammation in soft tissues. Histamine is a hormone the body use to defend itself from infectious organisms, such as toxins and viruses. Released in high levels, histamine can cause increased blood flow because your blood vessels dilate. In a mild to moderate allergic reaction to caffeine, you may develop throat irritation, nasal congestion and minor digestive complications. During anaphylaxis -- a multi-system severe hypersensitivity allergic reaction -- your body is flooded with chemicals that cause extreme systematic reactions.

Complications

Lip swelling resulting from an allergic reaction to caffeine can lead to further complications. The swelling that's present in your lips may affect other areas of your body. The swelling may begin in your lips and spread into your tongue, face and throat. If your lip swelling causes continual swelling, you may be experiencing anaphylactic shock. Common signs and symptoms of anaphylactic shock may include the feeling of a lump in your throat, a warm feeling in your skin, hives, flushed skin, pale skin, asthma, swelling of your throat, lips or face, an increased heart rate, dizziness, fainting, lightheadedness, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Treatment

Lip swelling from an allergic reaction to caffeine cannot be treated with over-the-counter antihistamines. Lip swelling, along with other anaphylactic symptoms, needs to be treated with an injection of epinephrine. This medication stimulates your central nervous system and helps alleviate your symptoms. Epinephrine can help temporarily alleviate your symptoms for 15 minutes.

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