Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, Wis.  –  As part of March’s Caffeine Awareness Month, HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals want to share how the stimulant affects our brain and body.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates 80% of U.S. adults consume caffeine daily. Although it can help with alertness, health experts say overdoing it can cause dangerous side effects including:

  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Skin aging and wrinkling
  • Headaches
  • Increased anxiety

One known effect of caffeine is the negative stimulation of the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands sit on the kidneys and have a role in releasing hormones when we are confronted with stress. When caffeine is consumed, these glands are stimulated to release adrenaline into the body. This can affect sleep patterns and make us less alert in the morning and throughout the day.

“Caffeine is a stimulant and although it takes about 30 minutes to take effect, it can remain in your system for eight to 10 hours,” says HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals Clinical Dietitian Betsy Fish.

The FDA recommends no more than 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine daily for adults, less is recommended for those who are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine and how quickly it breaks down in the body. Keep in mind, the amount of caffeine contained in foods and beverages varies widely.

  • One, eight-ounce cup of black coffee: 95mg
  • One, eight-ounce cup of green tea: 35-70 mg
  • One, eight-ounce energy drink: 50-250mg
  • One, 12-ounce can of cola: 40-50mg
  • One, eight-ounce can energy coffee: 145mg

Caffeine is not recommended for children, and women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breast feeding. It also should not be mixed with certain medications, so talking with your health care provider about medication management is important.

If you decide to lower your caffeine intake, Fish says drink more water to avoid dehydration and cut back gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms such as headache and anxiety.


About HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital
HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1889, it has been meeting patient needs in western Wisconsin with the latest medical innovations and technology, together with a Franciscan whole-person healing tradition.

About HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital
HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1885, it has served the people of the Chippewa Falls area with health care that is high tech and high touch. Known locally for the quality of the care it provides patients, the hospital has been recognized nationally for its outstanding patient satisfaction levels. 

About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high quality, Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our physician practices and 15 local hospitals in two states - Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan, and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries,  and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit www.hospitalsisters.org.

Media Contact

Karen Kraus

Communications Department
HSHS Wisconsin
Office: (715) 717-4591
Cell: (715) 717-4747

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