Drinking at least one artificially sweetened beverage daily was associated with almost three times the risk of developing stroke or dementia compared to those who drank artificially-sweetened beverages less than once a week, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Stroke.
The authors caution that the study was not designed or able to prove cause and effect, and only shows a trend among one group of people.
The study included 2,888 adults over age 45 and reviewed what people were drinking. The researchers followed up with the study subjects for the next 10 years to determine who developed stroke or dementia.
Researchers found that people who drank diet soda daily were almost three times as likely to develop stroke and dementia when compared to those who did not drink diet soda. This included a higher risk of ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain.
Need For More Research
"Our study shows a need to put more research into this area given how often people drink artificially-sweetened beverages," said Matthew Pase, Ph.D., co-author of the study and senior fellow in the department of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, in a news release by the American Heart Association.
No connection was found between those health risks and other sugary beverages, such as sugar-sweetened sodas, fruit juice and fruit drinks. But excess sugar is widely recognized for its negative effects on health.
"Although we did not find an association between stroke or dementia and the consumption of sugary drinks, this certainly does not mean they are a healthy option," noted Pase. "We recommend that people drink water on a regular basis instead of sugary or artificially sweetened beverages."
Stroke Risk Factors You Can Control
About 80 percent of strokes can be prevented, according to the American Stroke Association. Healthy eating habits can help you reduce three risk factors for heart disease and stroke - high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure and excess body weight.
- High blood pressure is the number one cause of stroke - Eating a better diet can help control blood pressure
- A diet that includes five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day may reduce stroke risk.
- Being inactive, obese, or both, can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Balance the number of calories you eat with those you use up each day to maintain your best weight.
Learn more about stroke risk factors.
About Stroke Care at Doylestown Health
The Joint Commission awarded Doylestown Hospital with the Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers in recognition of our commitment to excellence in stroke care. Doylestown Hospital follows national guidelines that can greatly improve long-term outcomes for stroke patients.
American Heart Association and American Stroke Association's Get with the Guidelines ® -- Stroke Gold Plus award and qualified for recognition on the Target: Stroke Honor Roll.
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