ADVERTISING: Advertorial — DR. WAYNE M. FICHTER: Energy drinks: Is it worth the risk?

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The same pick-me-up that powers you through a boring afternoon meeting or late-night deadline could be silently setting your body up for some serious health problems. A 2013 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration outlines a drastic climb in energy drink-related emergency room visits. With cans lining gas station and grocery store coolers across the nation, these beverages have become a billion-dollar industry in the United States. Energy drinks are very popular; globally the energy drink market was worth $39 billion in 2013 and is forecast to reach $61 billion by 2021. But research is citing major health implications due to the consumption of these pick-me-up drinks.

It all depends on how many drinks you have. If you add up the total caffeine, and it is equal to or above 200 milligrams, this could cause a condition known as caffeine intoxication, according to a study published in the International Journal of Health Sciences in 2015. Symptoms of intoxication could include anxiety, insomnia, gastrointestinal irritation, muscle twitching, restlessness and periods of inexhaustibility.

Look at other conditions known to be caused by consuming too many energy drinks.

No. 1 Hospital Visits

Death is the worst side effect linked to energy drinks and shots, but there’s a laundry list of other health problems that could send an energy drink enthusiast to the hospital too. “In 2012, the FDA released data showing that 5-Hour Energy was associated with 13 fatalities and Monster Energy was involved in five deaths since 2009,” the study noted.

The number of ER visits involving the drinks doubled from 10,000 in 2007 to more than 20,000 in 2011, according to the new report. Those most likely affected? People in the 18- to 39-year-old age range. Older folks are reaching for canned and bottled energy drinks and shots, too — much to the detriment of their health. ER visits for the 40-plus age group jumped 279 percent between 2007 and 2011.

No. 2 High Blood Pressure

Drinking two cans of an energy drink a day could lead to a dangerous blood pressure reading, according to research done at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Doctors there found that 500 milliliters of caffeinated energy drinks a day lead to a faster heartbeat and a 10-point jump in systolic blood pressure. That might not seem like much, but if you’re one of the 26 million people in the U.S. living with heart disease, it could pose a major risk.

No. 3 Heart Attack Risk

Even sugar-free energy drinks with caffeine pose a heart attack threat, according to a 2010 Australian study published in the American Journal of Medicine. Researchers found that just one drink caused blood vessels to narrow, even in healthy young adults.

No. 4 Headaches

Headaches are one of the most common side effects that energy drink consumers complain of, according to the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. Researchers peg the high caffeine and excess sugar, not the herbal blends, as the cause of the head pain attributed to consumption of the beverages. A Nutritional Journal analysis found more than 20 percent of users report headaches, with about 30 percent also suffering from jolt-and-crash episodes as a side effect. Another 20 percent experienced heart palpitations.

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Dr. Wayne M. Fichter Jr. is a chiropractor at Natural Spine Solutions. The business is located at 3913 Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene, 208-966-4425.

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