Death of teen linked to consuming too much caffeine is a rare occurrence

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – The death of 16 year old Davis Cripe — after consuming a large soda, latte, and energy drink in two hours — raising the question of how much caffeine is too much?

“The FDA has no set guidelines for safe caffeine consumption, ” says Mary Noon, a certified dietitian at Hartford Hospital.

She adds, “How much is too much, it’s really difficult to say. I think it’s an individual thing.”

Drinking a large amount of caffeine spikes heart rate and blood pressure.

“A young child who hasn’t had a lot of caffeine- who takes a big slug of caffeine can get a big increase in their heart rate,” explains Dr. Paul Thompson, Chair of Cardiology at Hartford Hospital.

He stresses, sudden cardiac death linked to over consuming caffeine is a rare occurrence, “How does that lead to sudden death. What we think happens is the adrenaline causes the electrical system of the heart to misfire.”

A coroner found the South Carolina teenager had no pre-existing heart condition.

Dr. Thompson says, “It’s not unusual the coroner didn’t find anything on autopsy because there’s often not something structurally wrong with the heart. It’s a hidden electrical problem.”

Caffeine overload can lead to being anxious, irritable, and not sleeping well.

Parents — need to be mindful.

Mary Noon says, “They really need to sit down and you know, what do you drink all day? and maybe instead of reaching for some of those caffeine containing beverages, they need to have more fluids, maybe take a short nap, they need to exercise.”

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