They're supposed to give you a burst of energy. But according to a new federal report, energy drinks such as Red Bull, Monster Energy and 5-Hour Energy are responsible for a spike in emergency room visits — particularly from teens and young adults.
According to the report, produced by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of annual hospital visits involving energy drinks doubled from 2007 to 2011, the latest year for which data are available.
Energy drinks were listed as the primary cause or contributing factor for 20,783 reported emergency room visits in 2011 compared with 10,068 in 2007. The reported symptoms, which are often associated with excessive caffeine consumption, included anxiety, headaches, irregular heartbeats and heart attacks. Patients in the 18 to 25 age group had the largest number of energy drink-related ER visits. In all age groups, men accounted for about two-thirds of those treated.
“Consumption of energy drinks is a rising public health problem because medical and behavioral problems can result from excessive caffeine intake,” the report said. “A growing body of scientific evidence documents harmful health effects of energy drinks, particularly for children, adolescents and young adults.”
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