How Energy Drink Makers are Causing Overdoses and Deaths
On April 26, 2017, a 16-year-old South Carolina high school student died after drinking Mountain Dew, a McDonald’s latte and an energy drink all within two hours. His death was ruled a caffeine-induced arrhythmia. Tragedies like the death of David Allen Cripe are becoming all too common in all age groups, and the cause may be marketing, packaging, and labeling by the makers which are misleading and can lead to overdoses of caffeine and subsequent deaths.
This issue hits home with me. Five years ago a friend was driving from Georgia to California with his family. He was drinking energy drinks to stay awake. They made it to Arizona before he had a heart attack and died.
Another friend who drank energy drinks suffered heart and kidney damage. He too, died and doctors said the cause was energy drinks.
About six years ago I met a young woman doing windshield repair. She had a Rockstar energy drink in her hand and I cautioned her about the dangers. Her friend said she drank several a day and had just found out she was pregnant. She thanked me and dropped it in the trash. The next week she called and told me she had been admitted to the hospital with chest pain and her physician said she had permanent damage to her heart from drinking energy drinks and would be a high risk pregnancy. She lost the baby a few months later and was told she shouldn’t get pregnant again because it was too risky.
Kelly Osbourne, daughter of rock legend Ozzie Osbourne suffered a grand mal seizure after drinking energy drinks. Her mother, Sharon Osbourne, host of The Talk, came forward saying that energy drinks were the cause. The seizure was caught on tape during a filming of Fashion Police and helped doctors make a diagnosis.
Dangers of Energy Drinks and Caffeine:
Caffeine is an addictive stimulant that affects all systems of the body, particularly the neurological and cardiovascular systems. Caffeine works by blocking the molecules that signal fatigue to our brains and it triggers the release of dopamine which enhances feelings of euphoria.
Pediatricians warn parents against giving kids products that contain caffeine but do most listen and take their advice? What needs to be stressed and understood is that even in small amount; studies show caffeine can be dangerous for children, One study found that the impact on cardiovascular health can be worse in teenage male children than in female.
1. Increased blood pressure and heart rate: Studies show that even in small amounts, caffeine increases blood pressure and heart rate, especially in children. One study done by the military on deployed servicemen found that energy drinks had “profound changes” on blood pressure that could be life threatening.
2. Arrhythmias: changes in heart rhythm are one of the most highly reported adverse effects of energy drinks and have led to multiple deaths from sudden cardiac arrest and lawsuits.
3. Sleep disturbances: Too much caffeine especially later in the day can affect sleep which can lead to hormone imbalances such as Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
4. Anxiety and Depression: Energy drinks have been associated with an increase in anxiety, panic attacks and depression which can lead to suicide.
5. Seizures: Changes in blood pressure from high amounts of caffeine can lead to seizures.
6. Kidney disorders: Energy drinks are strong acids that can damage teeth and cause potential problems with bones but they can also alter pH or acid base balance which can affect the kidneys, muscles, and brain.
7. Acid Base disturbances: Energy drinks are acidic (some as low as 1.5) and can have a very detrimental effect on pH which can lead to respiratory and cardiac failure and even brain damage. Energy drinks are highly corrosive.
8. Dehydration: Caffeine is a diuretic so drinking energy drinks can lead to varying degrees of dehydration.
9. Vomiting: Adverse effects such as vomiting have been reported from people using energy drinks probably due to certain ingredients or acid level.
10. Adrenal fatigue: High amount of caffeine can affect the adrenal gland eventually leading to adrenal fatigue.
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