Before You Drink Energy Drinks, Check Your Heart

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energy-drinksLately there has been a lot of controversy surrounding energy drinks. Some, like Monster have made the change of disclosing how much caffeine is actually in the drink. There have been reports of children who have even ended up hospitalized because they drank energy drinks and ended up with various health problems, some as extreme as seizures.

Even with adults, energy drinks are said to have affected some people so badly that they had to be hospitalized and there are even reports that poison control was called.

In a new analysis of possible harmful effects of energy drinks on the heart, researchers have found that the drinks may increase blood pressure and disturb your heart’s natural rhythm.

Scientists at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., analyzed data from seven previously published studies looking at the effect of energy drinks on heart health. The pooled studies included healthy participants 18 to 45 years old.

In their analysis, researchers looked at data on QT interval — the time it takes for the heart’s electrical wave to reset before the next beat, as measured using EKG — in 93 people who had just consumed one to three cans of energy drinks. When it’s prolonged, QT interval can cause seriously irregular heartbeats or even sudden cardiac death.

Researchers found the average QT interval was 10 milliseconds longer for those who had consumed energy drinks than for those who had not. Doctors are generally concerned if patients experience 30 added milliseconds in their QT interval from baseline, according to a press release on the study, but any time QT intervals are prolonged it could put you at heart risk, according to Stephen Green, MD, a cardiologist at North Shore University Hospital in Long Island, N.Y.

 The researchers also found that systolic blood pressure, the top number in a blood pressure reading, increased an average of 3.5 points in a pool of 132 participants who had consumed energy drinks.

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