Study: Energy drinks may increase your chance of a stroke

Don Ames
February 21, 2019 - 10:59 am
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That jolt you get from caffeine-packed energy drinks could be more than you can handle.

Recent studies indicate that energy drinks may make you five times more likely to have a stroke. And it doesn't take a lot of them.  

Dr. Frank Smart, Chief of Cardiology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, cites a study that was done in Texas.

"Even one energy drink in a normal, healthy medical student altered the way their vessels squeezed down and reacted."

He says that makes an individual more prone to blood pressure issues, damaging the lining of the blood vessels and other complications.

"We've know for a long time that energy drinks put you at more risk for atrial fibrillation and arrhythmias, which result in strokes," says Smart. "But, now there's more of a direct vascular effect that's related to it, as well."

Experts are now warning that caffeine-packed energy drinks could be fueling a record rise in diagnoses of irregular heartbeats, one of the biggest killers.

You wouldn't necessarily have to have a faulty heart to suffer from arrhythmia – stimulants containing caffeine can trigger it.

About 20 per cent of the population is sensitive to caffeine, and for them just one energy drink could cause a heart-rhythm problem.

And now, it's becoming popular to mix those energy drinks with alcohol. Dr. Smart says adding booze to that energy boost is a bad idea.

"It opens the blood vessels while the energy drink is trying to squeeze them down. So, it's like one foot on the brakes and one on the gas, both pressing down."

Young people who combine energy drinks with alcohol and smoking may be more at risk of ‘stimulant-linked' arrhythmia, as opposed to the heart-rhythm problems that occur with aging.

Dr. Smart's advice when it come to caffeine intake?
 
"The American Heart Association says none is better than some, some is better than a lot, and a lot is not good for you."

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