Heavy energy drink consumption linked to heart failure in a young man

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Heavy consumption of energy drinks can be linked to heart failure, doctors warned in BMJ Case Reports after treating a 21-year-old who drank 4 such doses a day for about 2 years.

This report complements the growing body of published evidence and growing concerns about the potential heart damage of these beverages, say the authors.

The young man in question was treated in the intensive care unit after 4 months of progressive dyspnoea on exertion, dyspnea while lying down (orthopnea) and weight loss.

He usually drank an average of four 500 ml cans of energy drink a day: each can contains 160 mg of caffeine plus taurine (a protein) and various other ingredients. He said he had been doing this for about 2 years.

He also recalled having had attacks of indigestion, tremors, and palpitations for which he had not sought medical help in the past. In the three months before he was admitted to the hospital, he was forced to drop out of college because he felt so uncomfortable and sluggish.

Blood tests, scans, and EKG measurements showed that he had both heart and kidney failure, which was so severe that he was considered for a double organ transplant.

While he is likely still in need of a kidney transplant due to an unrelated condition, his heart symptoms and functions improved significantly with drug treatment and after cutting out energy drinks entirely. “However, it is difficult to predict the clinical course of recovery or the potential for relapse,” warn the authors.

This is just a case report, but there have been several others as well as review articles highlighting growing concerns about the potential damage to the cardiovascular system from energy drinks, the authors say.

Overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system from caffeine can be a factor; Energy drinks are also known to raise blood pressure and cause irregular heartbeat, say the authors, to explain the results published so far.

“Clear warnings should be given about the potential cardiovascular dangers of consuming energy drinks in large quantities,” they conclude.

“I think there should be more awareness of energy drinks and the effects of their content,” added the subject of this case report. “I think they’re addicting and too approachable for young children.”

More information:
Case Report: Energy Drink Induced Cardiomyopathy, BMJ Case Reports (2021). DOI: 10.1136 / bcr-2020-239370 Provided by the British Medical Journal

Quote: Heavy consumption of energy drinks related to heart failure in a young man (2021, April 15), accessed on April 15, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-04-heavy-energy-consumption-linked- heart.html

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