Energy drinks could increase a person’s risk of having a stroke by 500% as addictions are causing a rise in irregular heartbeats, claim experts.
Shocking figures have revealed the volume of energy drinks consumed in the UK increased from 463 million litres in 2010 to 679 million litres in 2017.
It is thought the rise in energy drink consumption is linked to a rise in arrhythmia – an abnormal heart rhythm which increases the risk of stroke five-fold.
Founder and CEO of The Arrhythmia Alliance, said: “You wouldn’t necessarily have to have a faulty heart to suffer from arrhythmia – stimulants containing caffeine can trigger it.
“Six or seven coffees a day could do it, but these energy drinks carry a really high risk.”
Mark, 52, spoke about his “terrifying” experience of arrhythmia, which left him thinking he was about to die.
The construction manager had consumed around eight cups of coffee a day and three cans of Red Bull to keep him going.
After downing two cans of Red Bull in a row, he described how he felt a “booming” sound and beat coming from his heart.
He said: “It was absolutely terrifying. My heart was beating very fast, then would miss a beat and then it would “boom”.
A GP diagnosed Mark with an extra, or ectopic, heartbeat – as a result of his excessive caffeine and energy drink habit.
Mark immediately cut out all energy drinks and caffeine and said he thinks the drinks “should be banned”.
He added: “I feel so much better. I didn’t realise what it was doing to me, and to my health, until I stopped.
“I think they should be banned. I don’t touch caffeine at all any more.”
A 250ml serving of a typical energy drink contains 80mg of caffeine per litre – twice as much as a regular cola drink and the same as a 60ml espresso.
A senior cardiac nurse for the British Heart Foundation said drinking “moderate” amounts of caffeine was not found to be damaged. She, however warned drinkers about the symptoms of over-consumption.
She said anyone who feels a “pounding or fluttering” after consuming caffeine in coffee or energy drinks should stop.