Amidst all the controversies surrounding energy drinks, a new study presented at an American Heart Association conference found that energy drink consumption may raise blood pressure and cause erratic heartbeat.
Researchers looked into data from seven previous studies to determine how drinking energy drinks might affect heart health. The studies involved healthy, young patients, aged 18-45 years old, according to a feature on ScienceDaily.
In the first part of the pooled analysis, the researchers examined the QT interval — a segment of the heart’s rhythm on the ECG — of 93 individuals who drank 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 normal QT interval usually varies depending on age and gender. However, prolonged QT interval can cause serious irregular heartbeats or sudden cardiac death.
“QT prolongation is associated with life-threatening arrhythmias. The finding that energy drinks could prolong the QT, in light of the reports of sudden cardiac death, warrants further investigation.” said Ian Riddock, M.D., a co-author and director of preventive cardiology at the David Grant Medical Center, Travis Air Force Base, Calif.
The researchers also found that more than 130 participants involved in the study who consumed energy drinks had raised systolic blood pressure by an average of 3.5 points. They noted that since energy drinks have caffeine content, those who do not normally consume much caffeine may have an “exaggerated increase in blood pressure.”