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Drinking diet soda may put women over the age of fifty at a higher risk of stroke or heart disease

Q:  A friend of mine made a comment the other day that I shouldn’t be drinking diet colas anymore because of my age (70 years old). I have been drinking diet colas for most of my adult life. She tends to be a “know it all” so does this have any merit?

A: Actually your friend may be on the right track. Just this week media reports indicate drinking two or more diet sodas a day may indeed put women over the age of fifty at a higher risk of stroke or heart disease. On the flip side critics insist women who have known heart disease risks such as obesity or poor diets tend to use artificially sweetened drinks. You are looking at a disagreement about cause and effect. Due to your age it would be a good idea to have a conversation with your primary care physician to seek his advice on this subject. Keep in mind heart disease is the number one cause of death in women.

A concerning statistic for all of us is the fact one half of all Americans have at least one of the top 3 risk factors for heart disease…high blood pressure, high cholesterol or smoking. Diabetes is another contributing condition. An additional concern is four out of five adults don’t meet the guidelines of 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity physical activity. At first glance this may seem like a lot of time but when you break it down this is only 25 minutes a day.

February is American Heart Month, the Administration for Community Living sends a message to all adults regardless of their age to become more aware of their own personal risk factors. They also encourage individuals to take advantage of the evidence based programs available in their community whether that be the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, the Diabetes Self-Management Program or the Healthy Eating for Successful Living in Older Adults. For more information about these programs call 978-946-1211 or go on-line to www.healthyliving4me.org.

 

Are you struggling caring for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our staff is available for a no-cost consultation, set up at your convenience, to help guide you through your caregiving experience. For more details or to schedule an appointment, please call 800-892-0890.

Do you have a question? We encourage inquiries and comments from our readers. Please direct your correspondence to ageinfo@esmv.org or Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc., Age Information Department, 280 Merrimack Street, Suite 400, Lawrence, MA 01843. Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of Elder Services.