Excessive cola consumption can lead to super-sized muscle problems warn doctor

"We are consuming more soft drinks than ever before and a number of health issues have already been identified including tooth problems, bone demineralisation and the development of metabolic syndrome and diabetes" says Dr Moses Elisaf from the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Ioannina, Greece.[via physorg]

"Evidence is increasing to suggest that excessive cola consumption can also lead to hypokalaemia, in which the blood potassium levels fall, causing an adverse effect
on vital muscle functions."

A research review carried out by Dr Elisaf and his colleagues has shown that symptoms can range from mild weakness to profound paralysis. Luckily all the patients studied made a rapid and full recovery after they stopped drinking cola and took oral or intravenous potassium.

The case studies looked at patients whose consumption ranged from two to nine litres of cola a day.

They included two pregnant women who were admitted with low potassium levels.

The first, a 21 year-old woman, was consuming up to three litres of cola a day and complained of fatigue, appetite loss and persistent vomiting. An electrocardiagram also revealed she had a heart blockage, while blood tests showed she had low potassium levels.

The second also had low potassium levels and was suffering from increasing muscular weakness. It turned out she had been drinking up to seven litres of cola a day for the last 10 months.

In a commentary on the paper, Dr Clifford Packer from the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Centre in Ohio relates the strange case of the ostrich farmer who returned from the Australian outback with muscle weakness. He had been drinking four litres of cola a day for the last three years and drank up to 10 litres a day when he was in the outback, causing a rapid reduction in his potassium levels.

He also relates a puzzling case he saw in his own clinical practice, which was solved when the patient turned up at his office with a two-litre bottle of cola in the basket of his electric scooter. It turned out he routinely drank up to four litres a day. He refused to stop drinking cola, but halved his consumption and the muscle weakness he had been complaining of improved.

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