What eating world's hottest chilli pepper can do to you

11 April, 2018, 04:52 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • Carolina Reapers

A 34-year-old man was hospitalized after he ate the pepper whole at a competition, according to The New York Times. In comparison, a jalapeño has a spiciness of about 5,000 SHU and a habanero has 200,000 SHU. On the scale of Scoville (which measures the strength of peppers), a Carolina Reaper averages more than 1.6 million.

The searing pepper didn't sit well in the chili-eating contestant.

The patient, who has not been identified, immediately began dry heaving after sampling the chilli, the USA authors said in the paper. Consider another risk: waves of excruciating, brain-crushing headaches. He developed a crushing neck pain and an intense headache. Such headaches reach their peak within one minute, disappear just as quickly and are often accompanied by nausea or vomiting. Their stormy aches can be a sign of serious problems, like bleeding in the brain, a brain infection, or a cerebrospinal fluid leak.

The pain was so severe he sought emergency care, but various tests returned negative, and it was unclear what was causing the pains - until he took a CT scan.

Doctors at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, New York, found no other neurological symptoms, such as slurred speech or impaired vision, according to the report.

For some, they can strike during orgasm, Professor Parsons said: "Blood pressure rises and an artery ruptures".

CT scan
BMJ DANGER A CT scan showed the man's arteries had narrowed in his brain

But a CT angiogram of the brain's blood vessels did reveal something unusual: a substantial narrowing of the left internal carotid artery and four other blood vessels supplying the brain.

These types of headaches are incredibly painful and happen when the vessels that carry blood to the brain tighten quickly and suddenly - it is also known as reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS).

But the underlying cause isn't always life-threatening.

Doctors say RCVS can occur as a reaction to prescription drugs, or after taking illegal drugs.

"No cases of RCVS secondary to peppers or cayenne have been previously reported", he said, "but ingestion of cayenne pepper has been associated with coronary vasospasm and acute myocardial infarction", he added. Capsaicin is known to influence the sympathetic nervous system.

Given that the man developed the symptoms after consuming a vasoactive substance, the doctors concluded that eating the Carolina Reaper could have been the reason he developed RCVS.

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