I have been considering writing about a health concern all week. This was sparked by my son’s health and something I have been questioning. I am not sure that I believe the opinions of the doctors, but it’s not something I can change regardless. I believe our lifestyles of working too hard, sacrificing our health and sleep are playing a huge role in creating serious life-long health issues.
A couple of weeks ago I was woken at 6am by the phone. It was my son’s workplace telling me he had been rushed by ambulance to the hospital. The reason I received this call and not his wife is that he couldn’t think of his wife’s phone number. He is not permitted to take his phone into his workplace, so her number was locked in his vehicle.
At the time, we were told it was nothing serious. He had passed out at work and had a convulsion. The hospital said he had worked too many hours without sleep and to stay away had dehydrated his body with 5 hour energy shots and coffee, lots and lots of coffee. He needed fluids and an IV was started. The only other problem they detected was an increase in blood pressure. His normal 117/72 blood pressure was temporarily 174/120. After receiving fluids his blood pressure returned to normal.
Within a week we knew something else was going on. He began to forget things, not just little things, but entire blocks of time. He turned to his wife one afternoon to tell her he missed the fight he had wanted to watch the week before on television. She was stunned, he had watched it, all of it. He still can not remember a thing about the fight.
In addition he was experiencing what he could only describe as anxiety attacks. He had trouble driving, working and just living. These attacks came out of the blue, with no warning and nothing in common to make sense to him.
After an MRI and CAT scan he was diagnosed with a seizure disorder. His brain is constantly misfiring. He has had his driver’s license suspended until medication is found that can control the seizures.
The diagnosis came with a cause as well. The doctor insists that the seizure disorder came from lack of sleep (30 hours straight) and not the caffeine intake that we all suspected. He is being told that the caffeine had absolutely nothing to do with causing the seizure disorder. I am questioning this, quietly to myself, as he has gone without proper sleep before especially during his time with the Army and we have no history of seizure disorders on either side of his family.
I am also questioning the safety of large doses of caffeine, especially in the energy drinks readily available.
See a good friend of the family, one who grew up along side my boys (I’ve known her since she was 5 years old) was diagnosed with a seizure disorder last year. She too had no history, and no family history of seizure disorders. She also went without adequate sleep in trying to work and raise her daughter on her own and had turned to several pots of coffee and energy drinks to keep going. Her doctors have told her she always had the seizure disorder, yet it never manifested itself until now. That her seizures were genetic and were simply dormant until now, at the age of 25, when they became active. I tend to believe her issues may have a direct relation to the large amounts of caffeine she too consumed, and continues to consume.
We are becoming a society running on empty trying to keep going when our bodies need rest.
I have been doing some research on these issues and can not find anything that links sleep deprivation as a cause of a seizure disorder unless there is already a seizure disorder. Once diagnosed with a seizure disorder the lack of sleep can bring on a seizure. My son can no longer be mandated to work double shifts and is restricted to no more than an 8 hour shift to prevent him from having another seizure.
What I did find out through my research I wanted to share with all of you. Caffeine first, directly affects the brain’s hormones and constricts the blood vessels in the brain.
The 5 hour energy shots my son ingested during the hours leading up to his collapse and seizure have been reported as contributing to at least 13 deaths and serious life threatening events including heart attacks and convulsions etc. You can read more here.
While my son realizes that his caffeine habits had to go, of which I am very thankful for, he will now have to be on very costly medication as will our family friend. These two individuals are 28 and 25 years old respectively, yet are now required to take medications for the rest of their lives.
I finally decided to write this today in the hopes that if my suspicions are correct and caffeine altered my son’s, and family friend’s, brain that I can save someone else from making the same mistake in believing these products are safe. If there were just one reason to simplify your life, it may very well be that it can save your life.