Teenager Dies From Drinking A Huge Amount Of Caffeine Too Quickly

A 16-year-old boy from South Carolina named Davis Allen Cripe collapsed in April after drinking a McDonald's latte, a large Mountain Dew soft drink, and an energy drink in just under two hours.

According to Richland County coroner Gary Watts, the teenager died from a "caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia." Cripe had no known pre-existing cardiovascular condition.

While the boy weighed close to 200 lbs, he was not considered morbidly obese, Watts said.

He elaborated further: "We're not saying that it was the total amount of caffeine in the system, it was just the way that it was ingested over that short period of time, and the chugging of the energy drink at the end was what the issue was with the cardiac arrhythmia."

The primary witness could not say which brand of energy drink the teen consumed, but noted it was the size of a large soft drink.

"We're not trying to speak out totally against caffeine," Watts commented. "We believe people need to pay attention to their caffeine intake and how they do it, just as they do with alcohol or cigarettes."

The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against children and teenagers consuming energy drinks, highlighting they have side-effects such as irregular heartbeats and blood pressure changes.

Note that the majority of energy drinks contain the caffeine equivalent of three cups of coffee and up to 14 teaspoons of sugar.

As a rough estimate, Cripe could have consumed 470 mg of caffeine in less than two hours.

Keep in mind that a McDonald's latte has 142 mg of caffeine, a 570 ml (20 oz) Mountain Dew contains 90 mg, and a 450 ml (16 oz) energy drink can have as much as 240 mg of the stimulant.

The European Food Safety Authority issued a warning in 2015 that drinking more than 400 mg of caffeine may result in increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, tremors, nervousness, insomnia, and panic attacks.

Caffeine consumed as a liquid will reach the body's central nervous system within minutes, boosting alertness and energy. However, it may also raise your heart rate and make you feel jittery or anxious.

Also, note that caffeine takes several hours to clear from your system.

Experts say that enjoying two or three cups of coffee or other caffeinated beverages is not a health risk. Consuming several hundred milligrams of the stimulant in a short period is risky.

As this sad case proves, it is possible to overdose on caffeine, and it can be fatal in a worst-case scenario.

Source: BBC
Photo: BBC

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