Energy drinks may increase blood pressure, disturb heart rhythm

heart-66888_1280Date: March 21, 2013

Source: American Heart Association

Summary: Energy drinks may increase blood pressure and disturb the heart’s rhythm. Researchers who analyzed seven previously published studies found an increase of 3.5 points in systolic blood pressure for those consuming energy drinks. Consuming energy drinks may increase the chances of developing an abnormal heart rhythm.

Researchers analyzed data from seven previously published observational and interventional studies to determine how consuming energy drinks might impact heart health. The pooled studies included healthy, young patients 18-45 years old.

In the first part of the pooled analysis, the researchers examined the QT interval of 93 people who had just consumed one to three cans of energy drinks. They found that the QT interval was 10 milliseconds longer for those who had consumed the energy drinks. The QT interval describes a segment of the heart’s rhythm on an electrocardiogram; when prolonged, it can cause serious irregular heartbeats or sudden cardiac death.

QT prolongation is associated with life-threatening arrhythmias. Researchers also found that the systolic blood pressure, the top number in a blood pressure reading, increased an average of 3.5 points in a pool of 132 participants. Hence, the connection between energy drinks and increased systolic blood pressure is convincing and concerning, and more studies are needed to assess the impact on the heart rhythm.

Since energy drinks also contain caffeine, people who do not normally drink much caffeine might have an exaggerated increase in blood pressure. Those with already high blood pressure or arrhythmia should completely avoid energy drinks.

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The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association

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