They call them energy drinks.
But perhaps they should be referred to as “stimulant” drinks. The various energy drinks, from the little shots you buy on the counters of convenient stores to the tall cans purported to “give you wings” all have one thing in common — caffeine. Well, they actually have another thing in common — the don’t have to tell you how much caffeine that’s in them either.
A regular cup of coffee has 95 milligrams of caffeine. So you wake up after a not-so-long night’s sleep and brew a pot of coffee before you start your day. Chances are, you sit and sip your fresh-brewed cup. Perhaps you feel like a second cup, so you stumble over to the coffee pot and pour another one.
So, over the course of maybe an hour or 90 minutes, you’ve gradually put 200 milligrams of caffeine into your system. However, if you’re on the run and didn’t have time to brew a pot and just slammed down a shot of energy drink in a little two-ounce bottle, you’ve shocked your body will more than 200 milligrams within seconds.
“Getting a lot of caffeine all at once along with potentially harmful megadoses of vitamins is a bad way to go, and there is real potential for misuse,” said Dr. Tod Cooperman, president of consumberlab.com, which tested several.
“Thousands of case reports bear this out. In addition, people who mix energy drinks and alcohol are more likely to engage in risky behavior because it makes them feel or act alert while they are mentally compromised.”
Thousands go to emergency rooms across the country each year because of caffeine overdoses. And, sadly, 11 lose their lives.
“The problem with consuming large amounts of caffeine is two-fold, One, it targets the central nervous system directly. Two, it can lead to dehydration and loss of water-soluble nutrients that have a calming effect on the central nervous system. This combined effect can cause agitation and sleep problems and potentially lead to the development of long-term anxiety issues,” Dr. K. Steven Whiting, author of “Healthy Living Made Easy,” told The Huffington Post.
Heart palpitations. Chest pain. Tremors. Shortness of breath.
These are the symptoms that doctors in emergency rooms see when too much energy drinks are consumed. And a lot of those cases are children, who can freely open a cooler at their local store and buy one. Or two. Or three.
There’s been a push for lawmakers and the Food and Drug Administration to put the brakes on children being allowed to purchase these products. Others believe in buyer beware, though uninformative labeling makes that a little difficult.
But we wondered what our readers thought of energy drinks. So when we wonder, we ask our readers on our online poll question, which can be found each week at www.timeswv.com. Last week we asked, “A study found that energy drinks may increase blood pressure, putting consumers at risk for sudden cardiac episodes and even death. Should they be regulated?”
And here’s what you had to say:
• Perhaps warning labels would help, like those attached to cigarettes and alcohol — 22.89 percent
• Absolutely not — people should be responsible for what they eat and drink — 24.1 percent
• Yes! Children should never be allowed to purchase such drinks — 53.01 percent
We’ll keep our finger on the pulse of this issue, if you’ll pardon the bad pun, as it’s sure to heat up in the coming months.
This week, let’s talk about health again. Two of West Virginia’s largest population areas — Charleston and Huntington — ranked the lowest for “well being” on a recent Gallop poll, which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the state, receiving a failing grade for physical and emotional health, work environment and access to basic necessities. How can we tackle health problems in the Mountain State?
Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.
They call them energy drinks.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region
Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
That’s why we need a strong Fairmont General Hospital.
When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.
COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community
There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
I had that blessed opportunity to hold that hopeful future in my arms last week when I visited my dear friend Jen and her newborn son Tristan at Fairmont General Hospital.
Putting a cost on safety issue has been culprit in 13 traffic deaths
Would you believe that an item costing just 57 cents — less than the price of a can of pop — is being cited as the culprit in 13 traffic deaths?
A simple 57-cent item.
That’s how much fixing the fatal ignition switches that General Motors installed in new automobiles would have cost, and 13 lives would probably have been saved.
TextLimit app one more step in cutting down distracted driving
Every day in the United States, nine people are killed and more than 1,000 people are injured in vehicle accidents that involve distracted drivers.
That statistic comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which goes on to say that 69 percent of U.S. drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 reported that they had talked on their cellphone while driving within the 30 days before they were surveyed.
Award-winning county teachers represent hard work, sacrifice
Each year, the Arch Coal Foundation recognizes outstanding West Virginia teachers with its annual Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award.
And this year, two Marion County teachers were among the 12 recipients.
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- Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better