Beer Brands And The Local ER
September 8, 2013

Beer Brands And The Local ER

Let’s play pretend for a second. Let’s pretend that it is a Saturday night, and you are having friends come over for a night of grilling and games and just all around fun. You have the meats and veggies, the salad, the chips and dip, and some sort of sweet dessert, like berries and cream or lemon pie or brownies. All your friends have to do is pick up something to drink. Some will bring soda or juice, while others will bring booze. Now, let’s fast forward to later that night. Ideally, everyone will have had a great time, been responsible drinkers, and gotten home and in bed safely. But, we have all been to a gathering where someone drank just a little too much and a trip to the ER followed for one reason or another.

Well, it turns out that perhaps that beer-initiated ER trip happens more often than previously realized. Health Magazine reports that five brands of beer and malt liquor “accounted for the largest amounts of beer consumed by people before they were treated for injuries at an emergency department” in one focused study at Johns Hopkins Hospital emergency department in Baltimore, Maryland. redOrbit further elaborates that hard liquor and ready-to-drink beverages also contributed to the ER room visits. Specifically, Budweiser, Bud Ice, Steel Reserve, Colt 45, King Cobra, Skinny Girl ready-to-drink beverages, vodka, gin, and cognac were part of the equation for the majority of the ER visits during the research.

Lead author David Jernigan, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health said, “Recent studies reveal that nearly a third of injury visits to Level I trauma centers were alcohol-related and frequently a result of heavy drinking,”

redOrbit explains how this small study worked:

“The team collected their information at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Emergency Department in East Baltimore on weekend nights between April 2010 and June 2011. Of the more than 100 respondents who said they had been drinking alcohol before their injury, 69 percent were male and 69 percent were African American, which reflected the demographics of the hospital’s surrounding neighborhood.”

Though only a little over 100 people participated in this study, the results warrant a more in-depth look at ER room visits and the relationship to drinking alcohol. redOrbit states that the researchers lead by Jernigan plan to engage in a larger sample in emergency rooms in cities and hospitals across the country to see just how prevalent the relationship between certain brands of beer and booze and ER visits is.

Perhaps it is time to talk about the effects of alcohol on the body so that people can be more informed about drinking. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), too much booze can affect multiple areas of your body including the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, immune system, and it can increase the risk of certain cancers such as mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, and breast cancers.

Let’s look specifically at the effects of alcohol on the heart because heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in America according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As the NIAAA explains, “Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including:

  • Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle
  • Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure.”

Now, moderate amounts of alcohol may have beneficial properties to fighting coronary heart disease, but moderate drinking means no more than four drinks on a single day and no more than 14 drinks a week for men and no more than 3 drinks a day and no more than seven drinks a week for women.

The effects on the heart are enough to make us all think twice about too much alcohol consumption, but in conjunction with the findings at Johns Hopkins Hospital, we should all want to minimize our drinking. If certain brands of alcohol (beer and booze alike) contribute more to ER visits than others, then they would likely be contributing to the negative health effects alcohol has on the body, too. It only stands to reason that being better informed about the effects and correlations will help us to be healthier.

Image Credit: Steve Design / Shutterstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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