Long-Term Effects of Caffeine

Dried berries coffee beans.
A person scoops a handful of dried coffee berries from a woven basket. (Image: Bonga1965/iStock/Getty Images)

Caffeine is derived from plants, seeds, nuts and cocoa beans. This product is a stimulant; it enervates the central nervous system. Caffeine adds a wired feeling to the body. With moderate intake of caffeine, the body does not suffer adverse effects. However, many people consume much more caffeine per day than an average amount. With excess amounts of caffeine over time, the body will start to experience a wide range of health effects.

Dehydration

Caffeine intake results in an increase in urination. Thus, it may cause dehydration, notes the American Heart Association. Long-term dehydration will impact overall health in many ways. It will sap a person's energy level and decrease functionality of organs.

Fast Heart Rate

Caffeine use, when consumed in excess, speeds up the heart. A long-term effect of caffeine may be damage to the heart due to its accelerated pace and inability to function normally. When a heart beats at a faster pace than normal, it taxes and tires the entire body.

Spike in Blood Pressure

Long-term caffeine intake may cause ongoing spikes in blood pressure levels and raise heart rate, according to MedlinePlus. Caffeine will boost both systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels, especially when above-average amounts of it are consumed.

Insomnia

Long-term use of caffeine may cause insomnia. Caffeine stimulates the body and mind, making it difficult to calm down to the point where sleep is possible. Long-term coffee drinkers have ongoing high levels of caffeine; they are often found wide awake in bed, unable to sleep.

Peptic Ulcer Irritant

Caffeine is a peptic ulcer irritant. With long-term caffeine intake, an ulcer may become more problematic.

Depression

Depression is also linked to caffeine use, according to MedlinePlus. Caffeine causes spikes and dips in mood and energy levels as the dose of caffeine in the body gets higher and then wanes. This syndrome may increase the risk of experiencing symptoms of depression.

Anxiety

Anxiety is also an effect of excess caffeine intake, notes MedlinePlus. This anxiety may be transient or it may be a long-term effect of caffeine use. Caffeine adds a nervous, jittery feeling to the body.

Headaches

Caffeine may cause headaches. These headaches may be transient or they may be a long-term effect of caffeine. Too much caffeine overstimulates the nervous system. This eventually may cause head pain. Also, withdrawal from the normal schedule of caffeine intake may cause headaches, too.

Addiction

Another long-term effect of caffeine use is addiction. Caffeine withdrawal is difficult and unpleasant. The body quickly becomes accustomed to a regular dose of caffeine intake. Thus, decreasing the amount of caffeine consumed may create dramatic withdrawal symptoms.

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