Man who downs 8 to 10 energy drinks a day has heart attack at age 26

Mawi’s Andrew Klymenko discusses silent heart attacks

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A 26-year-old showed up in front of healthcare workers “distressed” and sweating heavily. For nine hours, he had been struggling with pain on the left side of his chest. He was having a heart attack, which experts believed was down to his excessive consumption of energy drinks that day.

The man, who had no family history of heart attacks, told medical professionals that he had drunk between eight and 10 energy drinks, according to a case report published in Case Reports in Journal Medicine.

The experts believed that the “significant quantity of energy drinks” caused the man to suffer from “acute” blood clots in the main blood vessel leading to his heart.

Excessive levels of caffeine in the drinks caused his blood vessels to persistently contract, known as vasospasm.

As a result, experts believe the man suffered from a “reduced flow” in the heart’s blood vessel “to such a degree” that a blood clot formed.

However, the case reports are based on observations and do not necessarily show that energy drinks definitely cause heart attacks.

There may have been other factors at play that the health specialists didn’t account for, which may be the cause of the condition.

At the time of the case report, the authors admitted that “evidence is scarce” about the link between energy drinks and heart problems.

Yet, they still warned that “it is probably prudent to recommend limited consumption of these drinks.”

But since this case report, there have been more studies and case reports suggesting that energy drinks may indeed cause issues with the heart.

Last year, the British Medical Journal published a similar case report of a 21-year-old who suffered from heart failure.

The young man regularly drank four cans of energy drinks for around two years, it reported.

He drank an average of four 500ml cans each day, with each one containing 160mg of caffeine, taurine, and other ingredients. Blood tests showed that he had heart and kidney failure, severe enough to be offered organ transplants.

Controlled testing of energy drinks

A study involving 34 adults aged 18 to 40 tested the effects of consuming two bottles of energy drinks in a controlled environment.

They measured the heart rhythms and blood pressure of the participants every half hour for four hours.

They found that the participants’ heart rhythms had indeed changed.

Specifically, the spotted increases in the time it took for the chambers of the heart to contract and relax, known as the QT interval.

The rise of the QT interval is linked to the risk of a sudden cardiac arrest when the heart suddenly stops functioning. It is also linked to the onset of deadly heart arrhythmias.

According to the Mayo Clinic: “In general, complications of heart arrhythmias may include stroke, sudden death, and heart failure.”

But it’s still not entirely clear what ingredients in energy drinks cause issues and researchers are calling for further investigation.

Professor Sachin A Shah, co-author of the study wrote: “We urgently need to investigate the particular ingredient or combination of ingredients in different types of energy drinks that might explain the findings seen in our clinical trial.”

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