Habitual caffeine drinkers at risk for health problems

Shannon Lilly (WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- About 80 percent of the U.S. population takes in some form of caffeine every day.

However, doctors say habitual caffeine drinkers need to be careful.

A coroner recently determined the cause of a South Carolina teen's death to be over-consumption of caffeine.

The boy collapsed after drinking soda, coffee and an energy drink.

According to clinical dietitian Naomi McKensie with Coliseum Medical Center, no one should drink more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day. That amounts to four cups of coffee.

"Caffeine is kind of in everything and it's one of those things that people forget that it's actually something that can really affect your body," said Lauren Wagner, a pediatric resident at Navicent Health.

Caffeine is a stimulant that increases blood pressure and heart rate. Energy drinks and coffee contain high levels of it.

A cup of coffee contains about three times the amount of caffeine as a soda.

Symptoms that someone has had too much caffeine include the jitters, heart palpations and feeling lightheaded.

Tolerance levels can also be affected by age. Wagner said children should be limited to 100 milligrams of caffeine a day.

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