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Getting to the Heart of Energy Drinks: July 17, 2014

Call it a generational twist: young adults moving from carbonated soft drinks to energy drinks. Twenty-five year old Thomas Urie gets what ‘the buzz’ is about, but doesn’t like it.

“Personally they make me out of focus. Yeah, you get your energy, but you lose focus, you lose concentration. They make you speed up - I think a little bit more than you should,” says Urie.

Several studies show a connection between consumption and increased blood pressure and heart contractions or abnormal rhythm. That’s what has doctors concerned.

“Absolutely, these are the drinks that have a very high concentration of caffeine and also taurines and other ingredients who’s affects we may not know for a long time,” says Dr. Murali Muppala, a cardiologist with Lee Memorial Health System.

Energy drink-related emergency room visits have doubled over the past four years, according to government estimates, most cases involving teens and young adults. The biggest threat may be to someone with an undiagnosed heart condition.
“They are prone for life threatening rhythm problems, especially when you take lots of energy drinks,” says Dr. Muppala.

It’s important to look out for: a racing heart, skipping or jumping heartbeat, jitteriness or extended dizziness.

While some may be fine with an occasional boost, it gives Thomas pause for thought.

“Everybody’s different. Your heart rate is going to be different depending on who you are, how it takes to your body,” says Urie.