ER Visits From Energy Drinks Double In 5 Years
Energy drinks may help you get through the day, but drink too many, and you could end up in the hospital. While that sounds unlikely, the number of people who have been admitted to the hospital after ingesting too many energy drinks has doubled since 2007 -- the same period in which energy drink sales have skyrocketed.
Between 2007 and 2011, the number of emergency hospital visits involving energy drinks shot up from 10,000 to 20,000, according to a new government report. The majority of the cases involved teens and young adults, and while the report doesn't list the symptoms that caused people to go to the emergency room, over consumption of energy drinks is linked to insomnia, nervousness, headache, fast heartbeat and seizures.
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"A lot of people don't realize the strength of these things. I had someone come in recently who had drunk three energy drinks in an hour, which is the equivalent of 15 cups of coffee," Howard Mell, an emergency physician in the suburbs of Cleveland, who serves as a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians, said, according to the Associated Press. "Essentially he gave himself a stress test and thankfully he passed. But if he had a weak heart or suffered from coronary disease and didn't know it, this could have precipitated very bad things."
The 20,000 cases in 2011 represented a small percentage of the 136 million emergency visits that year, but the FDA said they are looking into the safety of energy drinks to determine if their sale should be restricted.
"We will examine this additional information ... as a part of our ongoing investigation into potential safety issues surrounding the use of energy-drink products," FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess said, according to the Daily Mail.
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