Women who drink diet sodas more at risk for heart attack and stroke, study says

3 Things: Diet sodas and heart health

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - According to a new study, women who drink diet sodas have an increased risk of having a heart attack.

The study, conducted by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, contained startling revelations from researchers. Especially when you consider that heart disease - and heart attacks -- are the number one killer of women.

Consider this: the Centers for Disease Control says women tend to drink more diet sodas than men on any given day. In fact, nearly 30 percent of women between ages 40 and 59 say they drink one.

That’s alarming as this study says women who drink more than 2 diet sodas a day significantly increase their risks of heart attack and stroke.

It's also important to note this is one of the first studies to look at the association between drinking artificially sweetened beverages and the risk of specific types of stroke in a large, racially diverse group of post-menopausal women. That age group is critical because that's when more women tend to be diagnosed with heart disease.

The study found that for women who drink at least two diet sodas a day: 23 percent more likely to have a stroke; 31 percent more likely to have a stroke caused by a blood clot (ischemic); 29 percent more likely to develop heart disease (fatal or non-fatal heart attack); 16 percent more likely to die from any cause.

That’s compared to women who have a diet soda less than once a week -- or not at all. Researchers found risks were higher for certain women. If you have a diet soda two or more times a day, you're at even greater risk.

In fact, researchers determined that habit more than doubles the risk of stroke in: Women without previous heart disease or diabetes were 2.44 times as likely to have a common type of stroke caused by a blocked artery in the brain. Obese women without previous heart disease or diabetes were 2.04 times as likely to have a stroke caused by a blood clot. African-American women without previous diagnosis of heart disease or diabetes were 3.93 times as likely to have stroke caused by a blood clot.

For women who may be skeptical about these findings -- this was an extensive study that analyzed the diet-soda drinking habits of more than 81,714 women ages 50-79 over a nearly 12 year period. The women reported how many diet drinks -- including fruit drinks -- they consumed.

It’s also notable that the women didn’t specify which diet sodas or drinks -- so researchers still don’t know if one brand or type is more dangerous than the other.

Bottom line: If you’re a big diet soda drinker – you need to cut back. Your health could depend on it.

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