Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers: Energy Drinks Can Cause Heart Problems for those Already at Risk
May 26, 2017
A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA) revealed that for those who are already at risk for cardiac problems such as high blood pressure, energy drinks might create an even bigger danger for heart health issues.
Although the study is not completely conclusive because of its size, the results indicate that the consumption of energy drinks cause a temporary spike in systolic blood pressure, affecting the cardiovascular system in general. As a result of the investigation, leading cardiologists and doctors throughout the U.S. feel that additional studies are necessary.
Systolic blood pressure is the measurement of how much pressure is in a person’s blood vessels as their heart beats. Symptoms of high systolic blood pressure include headaches, vision changes, increase in nighttime urination and heart palpitations. High blood pressure can cause peripheral atherosclerosis, a circulatory disease. Also known as peripheral artery disease, it causes a person’s arteries to become narrow, limiting the flow of blood to limbs.
Energy drinks are popular and often sought out as a quick fix for sleepiness or drowsiness. However, unlike regular coffee, energy drinks have a higher and more concentrated dose of caffeine. Typically, a regular cup of coffee contains about 95mgs of caffeine. The energy drink Red Bull, however, contains 111mgs. Some energy drinks, like the 5-Hour Energy Extra Strength drink have a whopping 242mgs, more than half of the safe daily intake of 400mgs for a healthy adult.
Consumer Reports (CR) did an investigation on energy drinks in 2012, and found that almost 30% of popular energy drinks tested had at least 20% more caffeine than they claimed. Since some are already high in caffeine, this is particularly concerning.
The JAHA study took into account a small group of people, all of which ingested the energy drink had cardiac and blood pressure changes. The authors of the study advised readers that the findings indicate that people with “underlying cardiac conditions, other health issues or high blood pressure” may want to completely avoid or exercise extreme caution when drinking energy drinks. It is important to speak with your doctor when you have questions about diet or heart health.
For healthy adults, consuming moderate amounts of caffeine does not appear to be problematic or dangerous. Although for healthy adults the safe amount is roughly 400 mgs daily; for pregnant women this number is halved at 200 mgs. Depending on the exact age of a child, or teenager, the recommended amount varies between 45-100 mgs.
Because the study factored in a group’s response to energy drinks as well as regular caffeine drinks, like coffee, another interesting result was found. The people who had a spike in blood pressure were those who had consumed the energy drink, not the coffee drink. This points to there being other chemicals present in energy drinks that may contribute to potentially dangerous cardiac changes, so perhaps caffeine alone is not the culprit. This could also mean that other chemicals in combination with the concentration of caffeine present most strongly affect a person’s cardiovascular system.
This is not the first time that doctors and researchers have been wary about the safety of energy drinks. A London-based study warned consumers of the “hidden caffeine” in energy drinks, often in the forms of taurine, ginseng and guarana. Taurine is an amino acid and guarana and ginseng are both used as plant extracts. All three contain caffeine. Even more shocking, some cases of heart attack and other serious health problems have been linked to the consumption of energy drinks.
It is clear that this is a topic that warrants more investigation and follow-up from medical health professionals. Because energy drinks are so popular and many people rely on caffeine to get them through the workday, it is important for consumers to know what is safe for them to ingest and at what level.
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If you or a loved one has been injured because of a dangerous of defective product, please call the knowledgeable product liability lawyers in Philadelphia at Galfand Berger, LLP. With offices located in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster and Bethlehem, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.