Local doctor warns of caffeine dangers - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Local doctor warns of caffeine dangers

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CARBONDALE -- The recent death of a South Carolina teen brings the dangers of "too much" caffeine back into the spotlight. 

The coroner says he died from a caffeine-induced cardiac event after he had a Mountain Dew, a McDonald's latte and an energy drink within two hours. That much caffeine, nearly 500 milligrams, caused the teen's heart to beat so abnormally his body couldn't get enough blood to his brain to keep him alive. 

Dr. Lucasz Dabrowski, at SIH's Center for Medical Arts, says he's seeing more and more patients come in with signs of too much caffeine. 

"We are starting to see folks coming in with unexplained heart palpitations," said Dr. Dabrowski. 

And his first question to those patients: How many caffeinated drinks do you have in a day? Specifically, energy drinks?

He doesn't think the three caffeinated beverages this teen drank are necessarily overwhelming, but it highlights how different each person's body can react, which is why he warns everyone to be cautious. 

"We go under the pretext that, oh, it's maybe a little bit more than coffee, based on volume, but it really isn't that," said Dr. Dabrowski. 

In fact, according to National Center for Complementary and Integrated health, a 24-oz energy drink may contain as much as 500 milligrams of caffeine, that's equivalent to five cups of coffee.

Dr. Drabowski suggests setting a good example for your kids by avoiding these drinks, and taking this opportunity to show them the dangers they're facing. 

"We seem to forget and we get this horrendous outcome every so often before we wake up and say lets do something about it," said Dr. Dabrowski. 

He admits the drinks haven't been around long enough for doctors to see the long term effects, but he'd argue they are not good.

Dr. Dabrowski says many patients don't realize that the body becomes dehydrated when too much caffeine is consumed, which can lead to many other health problems. 

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