A university student from the United Kingdom, aged 21, has suffered heart failure and near death after consuming four energy drinks a day over a period of 24 months. His excessive use of energy drinks left him in the intensive care unit and unable to continue his studies.
21 year old suffers heart failure: the case study
After spending two years drinking four 500ml cans of energy drinks every day, the 21-year old male was hospitalized. Each can of energy drink contained 160mg of caffeine. His hospitalization occurred after four months of suffering severe weight loss and shortness of breath. He spent 58 grueling days in the hospital with both heart and kidney failure, narrowly missing the need for organ transplants.
According to the case study published in BMJ Case Reports, the young man did not have a medical history of much concern; he also told doctors he was a non-drinker and did not partake in any illegal substance abuse.
“There was no significant past medical history, and family history was not suspicious for cardiomyopathy or sudden cardiac death. He was an ex-smoker, having stopped three years earlier.”BMJ
Along with the heart failure, it was apparent that his heart was enlarged along with both his kidneys and liver.
With proper warning, he may have been able to avoid heart failure
The unnamed 21-year-old man had no other medical history worth noting. However, he suffered drastic withdrawal symptoms when he was not drinking the energy drinks. He also went on to say that these energy drinks need better warning labels. The danger is not apparent enough. In the case study, he quoted the following about his heart failure and excessive consumption of these drinks.
“When I was drinking up to four energy drinks per day, I suffered from tremors and heart palpitations. These interfered with my ability to concentrate on daily tasks and my studies at university. I also suffered from severe migraine headaches which would often occur during the periods when I did not drink energy drinks. This also restricted my ability to perform day-to-day tasks. Even leisurely activities such as going to the park or taking a walk. I was eventually admitted to the intensive care unit. This experience was extremely traumatizing. And, I think there should be more awareness about energy drinks and the effect of their contents. I believe they are very addictive and far too accessible to young children.“
Energy drinks are a growing concern for all
It would seem that even the fear of possible organ or heart failure is not enough to scare people from over-consumption, albeit this is an extreme case. The above case study follows a study by Cardiff University. The results showed that 6% of pupils who were surveyed drank energy drinks on a daily basis. The participants in this study ranged in ages from 11 to 16 and they were questioned from 2013 to 2017. The study went on to show that no changes in energy consumption were found. Dr. Kelly Morgan who was the lead author for the study added the following:
“The daily use of energy drinks among a proportion of young people has not declined. And, our study reveals a widening disparity in consumption rates between those from low and high socioeconomic groups. Their popularity is unlikely to wane unless legislative and policy measures are put in place.” Dr. Kelly Morgan
- “21-year-old experiences heart failure after drinking four energy drinks a day for two years: case study.” CTV News. Alexandra Mae Jones. April 17, 2021.
- “21-year-old suffered heart failure after having four cans of energy drink every day for two years.” Sky News. April 16, 2021.
- “Energy drink-induced cardiomyopathy”. BMJ Case Reports. April 15, 2021.
- “Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption from 1998–2017: Findings from the health behaviour in school-aged children/school health research network in Wales” PLOS One. April 14th, 2021