A mother of three is warning people of the dangers of consuming energy drinks after she suffered blackouts, which made her fitted with a pacemaker.
Samantha Sharpe, 32-years-old from Leicester, UK, says she was consuming up to six cans of sugary, caffeinated beverages every day.
Samantha told LeicesterLive.com:
"I have three children and I work so it was daily life that pushed me to drink the energy drinks. I work in the evenings so it got me through the day. It woke me up and got me a bit hyper. I also had eight months off work, which didn't help how many I was drinking."
"In 2014 I was drinking five or six a day until I had the pacemaker fitted in February 2018."
Samantha said that the energy drinks, which helped her remain alert during work, increased her heartbeat, causing palpitations. She'd then crave more drinks.
"It got to the point where I was drinking five energy drinks a day. The drinks made my heart beat faster, which would cause palpitations, then after I would crash when I needed another one, causing my heart rate to drop to 20 beats per minute."
Samantha is now working at a pub. During her energy drink addiction, she was a cleaner.
"It would give me headaches, I'd be grumpy, and I'd need another one to keep me going. I wouldn't sleep and I had an overwhelming feeling of doom when trying to sleep."
When Samantha went for a checkup, she was diagnosed with heart blockage. She was then fitted with a pacemaker.
The doctors also told Samantha that she was suffering from kidney stones. She warned her that she was likely to suffer from diabetes due to excessive sugar consumption contained in the energy drinks.
"My family warned me but I didn't listen. I went to the doctor over a year ago because I kept blacking out at home. I had a first-degree heart blockage and it then extended to a second degree."
"In February last year at Glenfield Hospital, I had a pacemaker fitted directly into the heart to help my heart function. The pacemaker had to go through a vein in my leg. It was not a nice experience and my kids had to see me in and out of the hospital."
Even though the doctor didn't link Samantha's heart issues to the energy drinks, Samantha reported that she hadn't experienced blackouts again since quitting the drinks.
"I don't black out anymore, and I can't feel my heart messing up anymore."
"My heart used to skip beats."
The National Center for Commentary and Integrative Health is also warning against excessive consumption of energy drinks. The drinks contain high caffeine content.
The caffeine levels in energy drinks can clout blood vessels and cause severe heart problems. Such issues include disturbance in heart rhythm, increased blood pressure, and more.
Excessive drinking of sugary, caffeinated beverages can also cause anxiety, digestive problems, dehydration, and sleep disorders.