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Lethal Dangers in Caffeine-Loaded Kids' Energy Drinks

By Sandy Schroeder

Rockstar, Red Bull and other energy drinks are everywhere. But their danger just raised new questions with the recent death of a 16-year-old who drank a café latte and then chugged a large Mountain Dew and a 16-ounce energy drink. Within the span of two hours, he died. The coroner called it a “caffeine-induced cardiac event,” according to the Washington Post.

Manufacturers of energy drinks are not required to put the caffeine-content on their labels. Currently, 12-ounce sodas such as Coke or Pepsi are limited to 71 milligrams of caffeine. But energy drinks may contain 200 to 300 milligrams. Emergency room visits for energy drink issues jumped from 1494 to 20,783 cases from 2005 to 2011.

Researchers and health officials say parents should be aware of the dangers of these popular energy drinks.

Panic potential – Energy drinks can create increased anxiety with large doses setting off serious panic attacks.

Sleep disturbances – Energy drinks may keep kids up as they study, but abuse of the drinks can lead to insomnia, interrupting sleep and school schedules.

Addictive behavior – Daily consumption of energy drinks can lock kids into dangerous patterns of behavior, neglecting normal healthy routines.

Impulsive actionsThe Journal of American College Health said teens who are high on caffeine are more likely to take dangerous risks.

Agitation – Energy drinks can set off patterns of nervousness or anxiety. A study by The Mayo Clinic showed teens had a stress hormone level jump of 74 percent with energy drinks.

What Happens Next

Limiting drinks to age 18 and older, and making parents, schools and communities aware of the danger, is essential.

Pediatrics in Review said caffeine-loaded energy drinks can cause high blood pressure, obesity, and rapid heartbeat. The additives in them maximize the effect of the caffeine, which can cause anxiety, dehydration, insomnia, nervousness, nausea, and  vomiting. In extreme cases, seizures can be caused.

Teens may become hooked on the “buzz” these drinks trigger. At the same time, many mix them with alcohol.

As energy drinks continue to thrive in our marketplace, we all need to speak up. We can reach out to our family, schools, communities and neighborhoods to discuss the issue, and we can demand new age limits for these drinks if we feel so inclined; currently Senators Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) are working on legislation.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.

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