COLUMBUS, Ga. — A South Carolina coroner recently ruled that caffeine killed an otherwise healthy 16-year-old boy.
The high school teen reportedly overloaded his body on caffeine by drinking a large diet Mountain Dew, a medium McDonald’s coffee, and an energy drink within a two hour time frame.
Dr. Linda Jill Moore, a family physician at the Columbus Clinic, says research shows caffeine can act as a stimulant in products like, coke, tea, coffee and energy drinks.
“To consume a large quantity of caffeine and if their bodies aren’t accustomed to that, they can have symptoms such as a rapid heart rate, they can have high blood pressure,” Moore says. “Other responses to that people can have nausea, vomiting and significant headaches.”
Moore also says caffeine with the combination of the stimulants used in tobacco products and cold medicines can cause some unpleasant symptoms, like heart arrhythmia.
An arrhythmia is when the heart experiences an irregular beat, most likely caused by electrical impulses forcing the heart to either beat too fast or too slow.
The South Carolina teen Davis Cripe died when his heart fell out of rhythm at Spring Hill High School near Chapin on April 26.
An autopsy on Cripe revealed he had ingested well over the 400 mg daily limit of caffeine for a healthy adult. The FDA points out an energy drink alone can contain up to 300 mg of caffeine.