Cut Down on the Cola or Risk Muscle Weakness, Paralysis

May 21, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Doctors are warning people to reduce their cola drink consumption or suffer the consequences of muscle weakness and even paralysis.

After treating an increasing number of patients suffering from low potassium levels and muscle weakness, the doctors discovered that all the patients were heavy cola drinkers.

The doctors then conducted a study on patients who consumed two to nine liters or more of cola drinks per day and discovered some alarming similarities in the study group. All the patients experienced symptoms of hypokalaemia, which causes falling blood potassium levels leading to muscle weakness. The symptoms ranged in degree from mild muscle weakness to profound paralysis.

If left untreated, hypokalaemia can lead to additional potentially fatal problems, such as an irregular heartbeat. Patients in the study group also complained of extreme fatigue and loss of appetite.

Dr Moses Elisaf from the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Ioannina, Greece, treated the patients with potassium supplements and advised them to stop their cola consumption and all the patients recovered.

Doctor Elisaf believes the combination of the three main ingredients in cola drinks, caffeine, fructose and glucose are responsible for the development of hypokalaemia and the accompanying symptoms of muscle weakness. Caffeine intoxication was initially thought to be the main cause of hypokalaemia, but patients also reported symptoms after drinking caffeine-free cola.

Doctors are advising people to replace colas with healthier beverages. Not only can cola drinks cause hypokalaemia, they also have been shown to cause tooth problems, bone demineralisation, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

The take-away from this study is to avoid super-sizing your cola soft drinks and replace some of that cola with water.

The study is available in the June issue of the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

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