Take It Easy on Energy Drinks
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energy drinks

I've taught medical students for years and these days when I look out over the lecture hall, many are holding an energy drink. I've noticed that too, Norbert. They may not know a possible risk of drinking too much of it is heart failure.

It happened recently to a 21-year-old who drank 4 cans a day over 2 years. Doctors presumed the energy drinks made him sick since they saw no other plausible reasons. He went to the hospital after noticing progressively worse shortness of breath after exertion or lying down, swelling in the abdomen and weight loss over 4 months. He felt so unwell he had to take a break from school.

In all, he drank 640 milligrams of caffeine a day which is 240 milligrams beyond safe daily consumption. Doctors diagnosed him with decompensated cardiac heart failure. That's when the heart can no longer pump enough blood throughout the body and expands to move greater volumes of blood with each beat and to increase the strength of contractions.

When the student was also diagnosed with kidney failure, he was placed in the ICU and was considered for heart and kidney transplantation. Fortunately, the doctors were able to improve his heart and kidney function and after 58 days in the hospital, he was discharged home.

Though impossible to prove, doctors believe his chronic, heavy intake of energy drinks triggered his heart failure. Though he's given them up, a kidney transplant could still be in his future.

For more information…

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