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Energy or emergency

This month I have decided to take a look into a subject that I myself am guilty of and if am honest I really should have known better. If you take a look around at some of the school

children today you will notice something, and I don’t mean the headphones and quite often-bad hairstyle I’m talking about energy drinks which contain stimulants such as caffeine, Taurine etc.

Energy drinks have now become the mainstay of youth culture, mostly due to well-marketed products and to some degree peer pressure. However people fail to see the hidden dangers in these drinks such as, stimulant addiction, obesity and the main reason for this blog…SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST.

Dr’s and emergency staff in the UK, US and Europe are seeing ever rising numbers of young people being admitted to hospitals with heart palpations, severe tachycardia (rapid heart rate) and in some cases heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrests, the only link?.... excessive levels of caffeine, method of delivery energy drinks!

Does this mean that you should not touch another energy drink? No not really as mentioned in the quote below one 250ml can of energy drink a day is perfectly fine IF YOU ARE OVER 16 these drinks should not be consumed by people younger than that as they have a lower caffeine tolerance. Well where’s all this proof I here you say, well don’t take my word for it take it from the independent researchers quoted below:

“Too many energy drinks can trigger sudden cardiac arrest even in healthy people, according to scientists who warned parents to watch how many cans their children consume.

Almost one in three 12 to 19-year-olds regularly consume the drinks which often contain high levels of caffeine that can be bad for the heart. They can also contain “hidden” caffeine in the form of ‘masking agents’ such as gurana, which comes from a Brazilian plant and is identical to caffeine found in coffee beans but at twice the concentration.

Adding guarana and other popular substances, such as ginseng and taurine, to these types of drinks may generate “uncertain interactions.”

The international research team based at the Research Institute of Hospital 12 de Octubre in Madrid, Spain, warned that energy drinks can trigger sudden cardiac deaths in young, apparently healthy individuals.

“The scientists said one 250ml can per day is safe ‘for most healthy adolescent’ and that ED consumption before or during sports practice should be avoided. They said adolescents with clinically relevant underlying medical conditions should consult cardiologists before drinking EDs.”

“Dr Sanchis-Gomar said: “Excessive ED consumption together with alcohol or other drugs, or both, may lead to adverse effects, including death. “With a range of readily available sources, such as energy drinks, gums and inhalers, adolescents and young adults can easily overdose. It is estimated that as many as 46 per cent of the 5,448 caffeine overdoses reported in the United States in 2007 occurred in adolescents younger than 19 years.”

Cardiologists have urged doctors, parents and teachers to monitor adolescents’ energy drink consumption more closely.”

As you can see there is great concern regarding this topic. But let me put it in a simple way,

Caffeine = stimulant

Excessive stimulants = rapid heart rates/abnormal heart rates

Rapid/abnormal heart rates = sudden cardiac arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest = death

In closing I would like to say I am no saint I was addicted to these things too as the ‘Boss Lady” wife will attest to. From a first aid point of view if somebody is experiencing chest pain and you know they have had a few energy drinks that day please get medical advice by calling 111 or in an emergency 999, it may just be caffeine but the level will keep rising and so will the heart rate until something has to give, usually the heart!

As I climb down from my soap box, I would just like to say “energy drinks may give you wings, but too many may give you angel wings!!!” until next time stay safe.


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