Could your energy drink or Starbucks kill you? Take the Caffeine Risk Calculator

As medical students and health professionals, it’s tempting to overdose on caffeine. Since we work and study for long and unorthodox hours, more often than not, it’s very easy to get ahead of ourselves while drinking our regular cup of coffee or tea.

However, you might want to put a hold on the extra cup. Richland County Coroner Gary Watts reported yesterday that a 16-year old South Carolina high school student died from heart problems caused from caffeinated drinks. Watts says the teen drank a large Mountain Dew, a latte from McDonald’s, and an energy drink in just two hours, before collapsing on April 26th.

Death by caffeine overdose is incredibly uncommon. However, this teen’s death begs the question: how much caffeine is too much? As we know, caffeine is highly addictive, and people who don’t consume it regularly shouldn’t consume too much at a time.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the recommended amount of caffeine consumed in the US is approximately 300 mg per person per day – the equivalent to between two and four cups of coffee. The Mayo Clinic reported that adolescent teens should never consume over 100 mg daily, and children should never consume it at all. Common symptoms of caffeine overdose include migraine headaches, insomnia, irritability, restlessness, frequent urination or inability to control urination, stomach upset, fast heartbeat, and muscle tremors, all of which require medical attention.

And this doesn’t include the beverages. Sugar and cream adds plenty of calories to coffee, and energy drinks mix in artificial compounds that our bodies don’t normally intake. Caffeine affects your energy throughout the day, and your regular sleep patterns; adults are recommended eight hours of sleep per day. Mixing caffeine with various medications or supplements also affect the body in a negative way. Ephedrine increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke or seizure. Theophylline (Theo-24, Elixophyllin, others) and Echinacea amplify its negative effects.

Hopefully, this young teen’s death will make us think twice before indulging on a fifth or six cup of coffee after a long work day.

Find out just how much caffeine it takes to kill you, with this calculator, courtesy of Wolfram Alpha. And find out your threshold, from CaffeineCalculator.

Sources: USA TODAY, AP, FDA, Healthline, Dr. Axe, The State, Healthline, Wolfram Alpha, Healthline

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Jed Belaguas

Jed Belaguas is a content marketer, amateur web developer and copywriter, well versed in writing blogs, press releases, and editorial articles.