It seems the popular trend these days when you need a pick-me-up is to grab and down one of the many energy drinks on the market. Unfortunately, revving you up may not be the only thing the heavily caffeinated drinks are doing to your body, brain, and general health. So, if you’re part of the growing crowd who apparently can’t get through the day without one, you may want to put your health insurance to good use and have your doctor check you out.
Coffee used to be the elixir of choice to start the day – but, now it’s energy drinks – any time of day. And, that may not be a good thing.
According to recent tests conducted by the University of Toronto, if you rely a great deal on sports or energy drinks to rev you up or simply because you enjoy them, you may be interested to know the study shows you could be at higher risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
While the No. 1 cause of TBIs among teens is sports – head injuries can also happen in other ways, such as falls, fistfights, and car accidents. And, the rate of brain damage has not declined despite improvements in the safety of sports equipment. In fact, between 2001 and 2009, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported a 57 percent increase in the number of sports-related head injuries among young people (ages 19 or younger).
Because more parents are determined to have their children be involved in a variety of extracurricular activities, according to Gabriela Ilie, lead author of the Toronto study, more kids are susceptible to head trauma. Statistics show that one in five teens is now on the record as having suffered a traumatic brain injury, which is typically the result of a blow to the head that leaves the victim unconscious and incapacitated for at least five minutes or that requires hospitalization overnight or longer.
The human brain is still developing well into our late 20s and early 30s. That’s what makes the teenage years so vulnerable to permanent damage into adulthood. A serious blow to the head that leads to a traumatic brain injury has consequences beyond a bad headache and possible concussion. TBIs have actually been linked to a drop in academic performance, substance abuse, suicide, as well as violent behavior and actions toward others.
Some experts have gone so far as to call TBI among teens a crisis of “epidemic proportions”. Also concerned is the American Medical Association, whose plea to ban the sale of sports and energy drinks to young people has fallen on deaf ears.
Sadly, the effects of large energy drinks, when consumed several times a day, can do more damage to your body than increasing your chances of a TBI. Though it’s difficult to make sweeping conclusions about the overindulgence of caffeine, since it tends to affect people differently, a 26-year-old’s recent heart attack was linked by doctors to excessive consumption of energy drinks – as was liver damage in another young person.
In the end, getting a doctor’s opinion may not be a bad idea. If you’re a person of any age in the habit of mixing alcohol with your energy drinks, the odds are – you’re not doing your body any good.
Take advantage of your health insurance and go in for a regular check-up. Your headaches and stomach pains could be serious – and, even a result of drinking too many energy drinks. If you don’t have insurance – Open enrollment for 2016 begins November 1, 2015 and concludes January 31, 2016. Medi-Cal enrollment is available year-round.
Don’t get stuck paying a penalty for not having health insurance. Why not get a free health insurance quote today?
Do you regularly start your day with an energy drink? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.