Report Highlights Energy Drink Risks
Written by Faith Anderson on January 16, 2013
Energy Drink Risks “A Rising Public Health Problem”
Although the government report doesn’t specify what kind of symptoms caused people to seek emergency treatment, it calls energy drink consumption “a rising public health problem” that can lead to issues like nervousness, insomnia, rapid heartbeat, headache and even seizures severe enough to require medical attention. More than half of the patients involved in the survey who ended up in the emergency room told ER doctors they had consumed only energy drinks. In 2011, roughly 42% of the cases involved individuals consuming energy drinks in combination with alcohol or drugs like Ritalin and Adderall.
Deaths Potentially Linked to Energy Drinks
The findings of the government survey come on the heels of recent reports in which 18 deaths may have been linked to the consumption of energy drinks, including a 14-year-old Maryland girl who died after drinking two cans of Monster Energy drinks. “A lot of people don’t realize the strength of these things. I had someone come in recently who had drunk three energy drinks in an hour, which is the equivalent of 15 cups of coffee,” said Howard Mell, an emergency physician in Cleveland who is also a spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians. “Essentially he gave himself a stress test and thankfully he passed. But if he had a weak heart or suffered from coronary disease and didn’t know it, this could have precipitated very bad things.”
Young Adults 18-25 at Highest Risk for Energy Drink Reactions
In response to the potential risks linked to high-caffeine beverages, many are calling for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate safety concerns related to energy drinks and their ingredients. In the meantime, the recent government report found that people from 18 to 25 were the most common age group seeking emergency treatment for reactions related to energy drinks. “I saw one young man who had mixed energy drinks with alcohol and we had to admit him to the hospital because he was so dehydrated he had renal failure,” said an emergency physician in California, Steve Sun. “Because he was young he did well in the hospital, but if another patient had had underlying coronary artery disease, it could have led to a heart attack.”