Warning for those who love energy drinks and coffee: consuming too much caffeine can be lethal as proven by the case of a teenager from South Carolina who died after drinking too much caffeinated beverages over a short period of time.
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said that the 16-year-old highschool student who collapsed in his class last month died because of having too much caffeine. He revealed on Monday, May 15 that Davis Allen Cripe died from heart event induced by caffeine. The fatal event was likely caused by arrhythmia.
The heart of a person suffering from arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, may lose the ability to pump sufficient amount of blood to the body. The lack of blood flow eventually affects the heart, brain, and other organs.
Watts said that the teen drank three caffeinated drinks which include a large Diet Mountain Dew, an energy drink, and a cafe latte, within a period of two hours before he collapsed in his Spring Hill High School classroom on April 26.
Davis reportedly bought the latte at McDonald's around 12:30 pm and then drank the Diet Mountain Dew and the energy drink after that. He collapsed in his classroom before 2:30 p.m. and was declared dead at 3:40 p.m.
The autopsy revealed that Davis was healthy and he had no conditions that may have been set off by the caffeine intake. Watts also said that there were no drugs or alcohol found in the teen's system.
Caffeine: Legal But Potentially Harmful Substance
The incident prompted Watts and Davis' father, Sean Cripe, to warn other kids about the danger of consuming too much caffeine, a seemingly harmless substance present in a range of food products and beverages.
"We lost Davis from a totally legal substance," Watts said during a news conference. "These drinks can be dangerous, and be very careful with how you use them, and how many you drink on a daily basis."
Serious Dangers Of Consuming Excessive Amounts Of Caffeinated Drinks
Health experts have long warned about the dangers consuming high amounts of caffeine as this could cause irritability, restlessness, faster heartbeat, insomnia, nervousness, and even muscle tremors.
The U.S. Department of Defense has in fact warned soldiers about drinking too much energy drink after the military noticed that there was an increasing number of servicemen who opt for energy beverages over water particularly among those involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Symptoms Of Caffeine Intoxication
Davis' is not the first reported case of death due to excessive consumption of caffeine. Another young man in Kyushu, Japan also died in 2015 from caffeine intoxication. The man, who was in his 20s is believed to have consumed huge quantities of caffeinated soda so he could stay awake and fight fatigue while he worked for a 24-hour gasoline station. Before he died, he had been vomiting many times, which is notably a symptom of caffeine overdose.
Other signs of caffeine toxicity or overdose include rapid or erratic heartbeat, seizures, diarrhea, and disorientation.