The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and Dundee)
Doctor suggests drinks could be linked to heart failure
Dundee health professionals have said The Courier’s experiment highlights the potential dangers of energy drinks and suggested a consistent intake of the drinks could lead to heart failure.
There have been many studies into exactly what effect energy drinks can have on your heart, but there has yet to be a major breakthrough that can directly confirm the link between them and heart failure.
However, Dr Douglas Elder, a cardiologist who works at Fernbrae and Ninewells hospitals in Dundee, said he regularly saw patients with heart problems, which he believed were related to energy drinks.
“We certainly meet a lot of people who drink huge volumes of these drinks, who come in with heart palpitations.
“There’s lots of research going on and a lot of it is circumstantial.
“One of the challenges with heart disease and cardiology is it takes quite a long time for those things to present themselves.
“But some of the worries are that it can cause irregular heart rhythms, especially if the rhythms are very fast.
“If you’re drinking them all the time and the heart rate is faster for quite a long time, the heart muscle could become tired with it.
“In some exceptional circumstances, you can be predisposed to things like heart failure.”
BMI Fernbrae Hospital staff were on hand throughout the experiment, offering expert analysis on the results.
Angela Isles, theatre charge nurse, monitored my heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate from start to finish, and suggested the sudden increases could have a devastating effect if experienced by the wrong person.
“If the heart rate goes up, your heart is working extra hard,” she said.
“Anything that causes your heart to rise for a long time during the day means your heart is working harder, so therefore you have the potential for more damage.
“Where you would have to be really careful is where someone has an underlying heart condition that they were unaware of. If you have one of those drinks and then exercise, you can in effect be putting your heart up to a dangerously high rate. You would have no idea of the consequences.”
She added that the combination of caffeine, sugar and taurine, all of which are stimulants, heightens the effect of the drink.
It has been suggested in several reports that some deaths can be linked to the consumption of energy drinks.