The Potentially-Fatal Danger of Energy Drink Overdose

The Potentially-Fatal Danger of Energy Drink Overdose


An Arizona teen recently died of a heart attack at a Mexican beach resort after spending the day consuming energy drinks instead of water.  She reportedly told her father that she didn’t feel well and suddenly collapsed and was unable to be revived.  This is just one of a growing number of cases involving energy drink overdoses and heart attacks, and very few people know about this potential threat.

Loaded with Caffeine and Sugar

Most energy drinks are loaded with caffeine and sugar.  One serving can contain two to four times the amount of caffeine found in most soda products.  Furthermore, many of the added ingredients in popular products such as ginseng, guarana and taurine also contain caffeine that is not listed on product labels.  While one or two cans of energy drinks is not considered to be dangerous, consuming them one after an other throughout the course of the day can prove to be a fatal mistake.

Growing Problem

Approximately 5,000 teens and young adults are admitted to hospitals every year due to caffeine overdoses.  Some of them are fatal.  Caffeine causes heart rates as well as blood pressure levels to increase in addition to accelerating dehydration.  All of these factors place stress on the heart and can create arrhythmias that may lead to cardiac arrest.  This is particularly true if someone has an underlying and minor heart problem that may not have been diagnosed previously. 

A growing number of teens and young adults who are seemingly healthy are ending up suffering from heart attacks that are attributed to excessive energy drink consumption.  Most occur from a combination of factors listed above with physical exertion, stress from heat exposure, alcohol or too much consumption on an empty stomach.

Reducing Risk

Doctors recommend that energy drink consumption be limited to one to two cans per day.  They also strongly recommend that energy drinks should not be taken before, during or after sports, exercise or any type of strenuous physical exertion.  Furthermore, we should be drinking at least two glasses of water for every energy drink that is consumed in order to remain hydrated.  Finally, avoid binge drinking or taking drugs while consuming energy drinks as well.

Everyone is at Risk

Keep in mind that teens and young adults are more susceptible to overdosing on energy drinks because they are the primary consumers of these products.  However, everyone who is consuming too many drinks is placing their lives at risk from having an overdose.  Furthermore, there is research emerging that shows how the heart, circulatory and other systems in the body may be impacted from the cumulative effect of energy drink consumption.

Monitoring Caffeine Doses

It is recommended that adults keep caffeine doses to less than 400mg per day.  Keep in mind that a single cup of brewed coffee from one of the more popular international coffee shops may have up to 350mg.  The effects of caffeine in the body last for about 4-5 hours after ingestion.  Consequently, drinking energy drinks back-to-back or at numerous times throughout the day can cause caffeine levels to skyrocket and lead to an overdose. 

The real risk with energy drinks is not the caffeine, but the combination of sugar, caffeine and other ingredients that send the body into overdrive.  Make sure that you are limiting consumption and keeping an eye on how much your kids are drinking as well.  Remember to stay hydrated, avoid stressing the heart and don’t drink or do drugs in conjunction with taking energy drinks.  The consequences could be fatal. 


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