Ask the Doctor: COVID & hearing loss, energy drink safety, gut inflammation

Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 12:51 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Dr. Bob Cassady from the South Bend Clinic joins us every week on 16 News Now at Noon to answer your medical questions.

Question #1 (from Peggy): “When you have COVID can it take your hearing away for a long period of time?”

DR. BOB: If you think back to the first few chaotic months of the pandemic, you may remember all sorts of symptoms being described with COVID-19.

We heard about taste and smell issues, COVID toes, etc.

Personally, I have not heard of hearing problems being connected with COVID. It is possible it could affect your ear as we know that viruses can affect the ear, but it isn’t common.

If you have had persistent ear problems, i would see your doctor to get your ears looked at and have your hearing tested. It is more likely something else has affected your hearing besides COVID.

Question #2 (from Joe): “Is It dangerous to drink an energy drink every day? I’ve heard of people getting heart attacks even from just drinking one a day.”

DR. BOB: Energy drinks typically contain caffeine, sugar, and certain other vitamins.

In general, it is felt that adults can drink up to 400mg of caffeine daily without significant impacts on their health. Energy drinks can have varying levels of caffeine and sometimes can have up to 500mg of caffeine in one serving.

It is possible if someone who was not used to drinking caffeine consumed this much caffeine at once it could cause health effects. However, I think it would be an overstatement to say that drinking one energy drink is unsafe.

Long term the high amounts of caffeine and sugar are probably not good for you. It would be better to consume moderate amounts of caffeine and start slowly.

Question #3 (from Tammy): “Best way to cut down on gut inflammation? Are there supplements I can take?”

DR. BOB: There is a lot of discussion about gut inflammation in the media, the lay community, and the medical community.

Many people have issues with chronic stomach pain or problems with their bowels. However, it is important to differentiate between inflammatory conditions and the many other gut problems that are not due to inflammation.

Certain conditions like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or Celiac disease can cause true inflammation in the gut. These problems need to be diagnosed and managed by a doctor.

Often, people have gut issues even though we don’t have evidence of inflammation. The approach to managing these conditions varies based on the cause.

I would recommend sitting down with your doctor to discuss your symptoms and start trying to figure out what could be the cause.