At one time or another we are all in need of a quick energy boost to get us through the day, but recent reports about energy drinks suggest that they are definitely not the way to go, especially for those with Long QT Syndrome.
A recent study carried out at the Royal Prince Alfred hospital in Sydney discovered that people who were born with Long QT Syndrome, a genetic heart condition, were at a much higher risk of developing dangerous heart rhythms after drinking an energy drink. This could be fatal for people with the condition, which often goes undiagnosed until a relative dies unexpectedly from it. About 1 in 2000 people are affected but are often completely unaware unless they are put on an ECG monitor which is able to detect it.
According to Food Magazine, the study involved 24 people aged between 16 and 50 who are known to have Long QT Syndrome. The participants were monitored over 90 minutes with ECG readings and blood samples as they were given energy drinks or control drinks. The conclusions of the study were that participants who had consumed the energy drinks saw an increase of more than 10% in blood pressure which did not occur in the control group. It should be noted that while none of the participants experienced dangerous heart arrhythmias for the duration of the study, 12.5% of patients showed a QT prolongation of 50 milliseconds or more, a dangerous ECG change.
For ethical reasons, conductors of the study were only able to give the patients low doses of energy drinks. However, many young people drink far more than this on a regular basis, especially on a night out when they are mixed with alcohol. This is a cause for concern for many medical professionals as the results of this study would be heightened if more energy drinks were consumed and could be fatal for those with the condition as well as dangerous for other young people.
Energy drinks can have many potentially adverse effects on the body generally as they cause adrenaline levels to rise, providing more energy to be released into the blood stream. This has a significant effect on the heart causing it to beat much faster to drive more blood and oxygen around the body.
It is important that more people are educated about the dangers of energy drinks, especially young people who many be unaware that they will react badly to the effects of them. For those with Long QT Syndrome, over-consumption could be a potentially fatal action.