Does caffeine pose a threat to teens’ health?

Photographer: Jennie Alexandros

Written by Jennie Alexandros, News Editor

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Imagine it’s a Monday morning and your alarm is blaring, and one of the first things you do after getting out of bed is drink coffee, which contains high amounts of caffeine. According to Medical News Today, about 83% of teenagers drink caffeinated beverages on a daily basis.

Coffee is the go-to drink to wake us up in the morning, but for others it is energy drinks or pure caffeine supplements. As you drink these caffeinated beverages, you may notice over time that you gradually need more to feel energized, and this is due to your tolerance to caffeine as your body gets used to it.

Another thing you may notice after consuming caffeine for an extended period of time is that you have a harder time focusing and maintaining your energy without it, meaning you have most likely developed a caffeine addiction.

Although caffeine can easily become damaging and dangerous to our health, many people are not aware of the negative effects it may have physically and emotionally.

Caffeine-riddled products have become heavily popular in young adults, which can be seen in abundance on social media. It’s not often where you scroll through your Instagram feed or watch your friends’ Snapchat stories and not see somebody showing off their caffeinated beverage.

With the amount of teenagers ingesting this energizing chemical, it is extremely important to know the risks that come along with it. Since caffeine is a stimulant, it can raise your heart rate, sometimes a whopping 50 beats per minute from your resting heart rate (theodysseyonline.com).

The average resting heart rate is about 70-100 beats per minute in young adults, but after consuming caffeine your resting heart rate can reach the same amount of beats per minute as it would if you were trying to reach your target heart rate while participating in a physical activity (my.clevelandclinic.org). Additionally, a high heart rate means high blood pressure, which increases your risk for heart attacks, heart failure, and several other possible health concerns.

But what about caffeine’s effects on your emotional health? According to Psycom.net, caffeine is a chemical that can trigger the feeling of anxiety as well. When asked how caffeine affects her levels of anxiety, LTHS junior Grace Dick said, “Drinking excessive amounts of coffee will make me anxious, because I am immune to it, but when I first started, it really made my anxiety go up.”

Grace, along with many other students such as April Erickson, another LTHS junior, can confirm that consuming caffeine can increase anxiety and add hyper-awareness, which can affect some people’s ability to fully concentrate.

With all of that being said, it is crucial for one’s health to limit caffeine consumption for your physical and emotional well-being. Caffeine is an addictive substance. Relying on a substance in order to function can lead to negative outcomes and can make living without it extremely difficult.

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Does caffeine pose a threat to teens’ health?