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Style & Living Food and Drinks

One Student's Shocking Death Proves That You *Can* Have Too Much Caffeine

The 16-year-old experienced a "caffeine-induced cardiac event."

By Maggie Shi

We know that too much caffeine can give you the jitters and keep you up all night. But unfortunately for a high school student in South Carolina, ingesting large amounts of caffeine over a short period of time had tragic consequences.

Last month, 16-year-old David Allen Cripe died of a caffeine overdose after drinking a latte, a large Mountain Dew, and an energy drink within two hours, as reported by Grub Street. Cripe collapsed while in class and was pronounced dead an hour later. According to the coroner's report, which was released yesterday, the "cause was a 'caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia,' meaning an erratic heart rhythm prevented enough blood from reaching the brain and other organs," Grub Street explained.

Cripe consumed a latte from McDonald's, a large Diet Mountain Dew, and an energy drink (authorities aren't releasing the specific brand) in fairly quick succession before suffering the cardiac event. He was considered healthy and had no known conditions that would have made caffeine a health risk.

Scary stuff. While you probably don't need to worry about your daily cup of joe, you might want to think twice before pounding those energy shots next time you need a big pick-me-up. “A cup of coffee, a can of soda isn’t going to cause this thing,” said Dr. Amy Durso, deputy chief medical examiner for Richland County, in a USA Today article. “It’s the amount and also the time frame in which these caffeinated beverages are consumed that can put you at risk.”

Dying from a large quantity of caffeine is "very rare," said Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler in the article. Still, maybe it's time to wean yourself off your five-Red-Bulls-a-day habit.

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