A 33-year-old mum has had to have a pacemaker fitted as a result of her energy drink addiction.
Samantha Sharpe was just 32 when she had to have the lifesaving device fitted, after four years of caffeine and sugar overload.
Drinking up to six cans of energy drinks a day, Samantha used to suffer from blackouts and heart palpitations.
After four years, the mum-of-three from Hamilton, Leicestershire, started to experience blackouts at home and decided to visit her doctor.
She says that her hectic work-life balance pushed her 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,” she explained.
The effects of energy drinks need to be advertised more,” she said.”I think everyone knows they aren’t good for you – but no one has ever said why they aren’t
Samantha, who now works evenings in a pub, was a cleaner when her energy drink addiction was at its height.
“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.
“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.
“It’s something I haven’t experienced before, which made me want another one.
“And I’d have the shakes. I felt like an addict to the stuff.”
Samantha’s family warned her about drinking too much caffeine but she didn’t listen.
It was only when she kept blacking out that she decided to do something about her addiction.
Scans revealed that she had a first-degree heart blockage, which then extended to a second-degree one.
“In February last year at Glenfield Hospital, I had a pacemaker fitted directly into the heart to help my heart function.
I’d have the shakes. I felt like an addict to the stuff
“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 hospital.”
But it wasn’t only heart problems that Samantha suffered.
Her energy drink consumption had also resulted in her developing kidney stones and she was also told that she was on the verge of developing type 2 diabetes, due to all the sugar she was consuming.
“Doctors cannot figure out the cause but have said that drinking energy drinks has not helped it,” she said.
“My sister, who is a nurse, said the addiction is worse than that of heroin, which I can understand because I needed it to help me be awake.”
After having her pacemaker fitted at the age of 32, Samantha said she’s got a “new lease of life”.
“I don’t black out anymore and I can’t feel my heart messing up anymore. My heart used to skip beats.
“But I do have to go back to the doctors every six months and I have to have the pacemaker replaced every ten years.
“I know I shouldn’t drink it anymore, but I have had one energy drink since and I could feel my heart racing, my kidneys hurting and a headache coming on.
“I thought to myself ‘I can’t do this anymore’.”
She now can’t stand to see other people drinking the stuff – especially kids.
“People do not realise how badly it affects you,” she said.
“I have gone up to people previously who are buying the drinks and told them what happened to me.
“It breaks my heart when I see kids doing it.”
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The sales of energy drinks to under-16s has been banned in most major UK supermarkets, but Samantha claims that she still sees mums buying them for their kids.
“The effects of energy drinks need to be advertised more,” she said.
“I think everyone knows they aren’t good for you – but no one has ever said why they aren’t.”
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