Monday, November 24, 2008
Medical Reports: Drinking Danger
Energy drinks have become a billion dollar industry and our children are some of the biggest consumers, but doctors say there's a Drinking Danger every parent should know about. Seven's Lynn Martinez has the story.
WSVN -- They promise to give you energy, help you concentrate, keep you focused, and kids are getting that message loud and clear. Doctors say many are overloading on the popular energy drinks and winding up in the emergency room.
Dr. Peter Antevy: "We've seen a dramatic rise in the number of children coming in with anxiety, panic attacks, chest pain, headaches."
All symptoms of too much caffeine.
Dr. Peter Antevy: "Most of them are answering the question, 'Yes, I do drink energy drinks.'"
Many of the drinks do advise they are not intended for children, a warning most kids ignore.
Nicholas Stavrianakos: "I couldn't sit still. I was shaking all over the place. I was actually scared."
Sixteen-year-old Nicholas drank six cans in one day because he wanted to be sharp for his football game.
Nicholas Stavrianakos: "It's just like regular drugs. Once you start using it routinely you need it."
Before he knew it, he was drinking them everyday. Seventeen-year-old Danielle also admits she got hooked on the drinks.
Danielle Mizrachi: "You can start drinking energy drinks when you're in middle school or even elementary school, and you're like, 'I want something better. I want something better.'"
Both teens are being treated for addiction to caffeine among other things at Memorial Regional Hospital's STEPS Program, an outpatient treatment center. They say energy drinks give you a huge high followed by a big crash.
Danielle Mizrachi: "I'm like dead, just like gone."
Dr. Madeline Camejo says kids and parents may not realize just how much caffeine is in a can.
Dr. Madeline Camejo: "These are like high-boosting jolts that stimulate the body."
Lynn Martinez: "Think about it this way, most doctors recommend two to three cups of coffee a day for an adult, but some of these energy drinks contain the equivalent of 12 to 14 cups of coffee in one can. Now imagine a child drinking that.
Dr. Madeline Camejo: "They can contain a lot of caffeine and a lot of other herbals that are also stimulants, so you get a double whammy in the whole package. Plus add the sugar that most of these drinks contain, and it's a huge stimulant especially to the pediatric population."
It's more than kids just getting a case of the caffeine jitters. Drinking too many of these energy drinks can lead to serious medical issues, including a spike in heart rate and blood pressure.
Dr. Peter Antevy: "Increase in blood pressure can lead to things like a stroke. It can lead to things like seizures and ultimately to death."
Dr. Peter Antevy: "I think energy drinks should be banned for all children, period."
And in the short run they are hoping parents get educated about this drinking danger.
Lynn Martinez: "The Broward County School District is working to ban energy drinks at schools after four middle school students were rushed to the hospital earlier this year. They admitted downing energy drinks to study for the FCAT."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Memorial Regional Hospital
STEPS Adolescent Day Treatment Program
18221 Pines Boulevard
Pembroke Pines, FL 33029
Tel: (954) 442-1316