The Charger Times

Energy Drinks: Caffeinate with Care

Mindy Mustain, Staff Writer

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As the fall semester is winding down, final exams wait in the not-so-distant future. What does that mean? Long, long hours of studying (maybe the night before the exam). Before anyone picks up any energy drinks for that late-night study session, students may want to read these energy drink facts:



  • Increasing E.R. Trips: In a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration , a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services, researchers found that trips to the emergency room involving energy drinks doubled from 2007 to 2011. The largest group making these E.R. trips were those 18 to 39 years old. Fifty-eight percent of all of the trips involved energy drinks alone without any other drugs. The same administration later found that, in people 12 or older, 12% of E.R. trips related to energy drinks alone resulted in hospitalization in 2011.


  • WHO Wants More Regulation: In October 2014, the World Health Organization Regional Office of Europe  stated that the increased popularity of energy drinks may be a cause for concern. The concern expressed was mainly toward the youth population. The authors recommend stronger regulations on the amount of caffeine allowed in energy drinks, giving health care practitioners training for dealing with the risks of energy drinks, and more research into the possible harms of energy drinks.


  • Heart Irregularities: According to an April 2017 report by the American Heart Association (AHA), a small study found that energy drinks caused abnormal electrical activity in the heart. Two hours after taking the drink, an interval of the electrical activity known as the QT interval was altered 10 milliseconds. The study author, Emily A. Fletcher, Pharm.D, explains that, if this interval is not the correct length, it can make the heart beat incorrectly. Such an arrhythmia, adds Fletcher, “can be life threatening.”


  • Blood Under Pressure: This study by the AHA also found that after drinking a caffeinated, sugary drink, blood pressure rose and then returned to about normal after six hours. This did not happen in the case for those who had been given an energy drink; they still had mildly high blood pressure, even after the six hours. This could be a danger for those who already have high blood pressure.

While energy drinks may seem like a good way to become more productive, they are not without some risk. The truth is that there is a lot that is unknown about energy drinks and their permanent effects on our bodies. The author of the April 2017 study in the American Heart Association report indicated that more research needs to be done into the effects of energy drinks on heart health. Until then, caffeinate with care.



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Energy Drinks: Caffeinate with Care