A woman is coming forward to tell the world of the potential dangers of overconsuming energy drinks and how she believed her excessive habit caused her to need to have a pacemaker fitted at only 32-years-old.
There is definitely no shortage of studies and headlines regarding the negative effects that energy drinks can have on the human body. There are reports that mixing energy drinks with alcohol can make you aggressive, can increase PTSD in military members, and a study that found alcohol combined with energy drinks has the same effects as cocaine. There was also an energy drink that contained viagra in it.
If none of the studies or examples are enough of a scare, Samantha Sharpe wants you to know the potential hazards from overdoing it with energy drinks. Sharpe, a 32-year-old mother-of-three, drank up to six cans of energy drinks a day. Then she started to experience the negative effects of her dangerous habit that lasted for four years.
“I did know something wasn’t right,” Samantha told Leicester Live. “The drinks made my heart beat faster, which would cause palpitations, then after I would crash when I needed another one, causing my heart rate to drop to 20 beats per minute.”
When she was drinking five or six cans of energy drinks daily, Samantha starting getting headaches and suffered mood swings, which only made her want another energy drink to balance her out. She had problems sleeping, which caused her to be groggy and in turn she would take an energy drink to jolt her awake again.
“And I’d have the shakes. I felt like an addict to the stuff,” Sharpe explains. “My sister, who is a nurse, said the addiction is worse than that of heroin, which I can understand because I needed it to help me be awake.”
Then Samantha started to experience blackouts and that’s when she knew that something was wrong and she needed to see a doctor. “I went to the doctor over a year ago because I kept blacking out at home,” Samantha said.
“I had a first-degree heart blockage and it then extended to second-degree,” Samantha revealed. “In February last year at Glenfield Hospital, I had a pacemaker fitted directly into the heart to help my heart function. The pacemaker had to go through a vein in my leg. It was not a nice experience and my kids had to see me in and out of hospital.”
But it wasn’t just her heart that was being affected, she suffered kidney stones and doctors told her that she was on the verge of developing type 2 diabetes because of how much sugar she was consuming, many of which came from the sweet energy drinks.
Doctors are not blaming the energy drinks directly as the cause to all of these health problems, but they did reveal that “drinking energy drinks has not helped it.”
“My family warned me but I didn’t listen,” Samantha said. “I know I shouldn’t drink it anymore, but I have had one energy drink since and I could feel my heart racing, my kidneys hurting and a headache coming on.”
Samantha has ditched drinking the sugary caffeinated beverages and has seen improvements in her health. “I don’t blackout anymore and I can’t feel my heart messing up anymore. My heart used to skip beats,” said Sharpe who is now 33. While Samantha is much better than a year ago, she still has to visit the doctors every six months and have the pacemaker replaced every 10 years.
Now Samantha Sharpe is warning others who consume energy drinks about the hazards. “I have gone up to people previously who are buying the drinks and told them what happened to me,” Sharpe said. “It breaks my heart when I see kids doing it. There is an age limit, but I still see mums buying it for their children.”
“The effects of energy drinks need to be advertised more,” Sharpe said. “I think everyone knows they aren’t good for you – but no one has ever said why they aren’t.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) published a study on energy drinks and stated: “the health risks associated with energy drink consumption are primarily related to their caffeine content.” The caffeine can cause heart palpitations, nausea, vomiting, convulsions, metabolic acidosis, and hypertension. There are potentially deadly side effects such as the risk of hypertension and type 2 Diabetes.
But apparently, risks aren’t just for those who pound five energy drinks daily. Scientists at the McGovern Medical School in Houston did a study and their findings say that consuming just one energy drink can lead to negative effects on blood vessel function. The reduction in vascular function after just one drink can restrict blood flow and oxygen delivery, which could put someone at a higher cardiovascular risk.