Examining the dangers of caffeine

Photo courtesy of Brian Black.

Brian Black, 9, enjoys an energy drink after school.

Chenoa Littlewolf, reporter

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Caffeine increases blood pressure and lowers the heart rate in children and adults.  Teachers are growing increasingly concerned that some young people are using these drinks to allow them to stay up into the early hours of the morning, and then drink two or three cans of these drinks on their way to school.

Consuming energy drinks before school affects concentration in class and hyperactivity is then followed by the inevitable crash later in the school day, when the impact of these drinks wears off.

The end of the semester is quickly approaching which means endless nights of studying with as much caffeine as it will take to complete the studying needed for finals.

Energy drinks rise and fall in popularity and are seen to be a quick fix by teenagers that want a quick energy boost to start the day. This seems understandable enough when we use coffee for similar purposes but new warnings about the caffeine contents of energy drinks and their effect on heart health mean we may have to reconsider our habits.

The drinks may trigger sudden heart attacks and erratic heartbeats in young healthy people because of the large amounts of caffeine. Researchers have found that caffeine decreased heart rates in teen boys quicker than in girls. Caffeine boosted teen boys’ blood pressure slightly higher than girls, suggesting that boys are more sensitive to the effect of caffeine.

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