Woman Drinks Nothing But Soda, Develops Heart Problem

Kim LaCapria

Soda drinking is often suspect among the health conscious, and a report of the illness of a 31-year-old woman who drank only soda seems to be another datapoint on the list of potential health risks for heavy soda drinkers.

Despite her young age, the woman who drank nothing but soda developed some serious issues that may have been linked to her soft drink habit.

LiveScience looks at a case report presented this week at the European Heart Rhythm Association meeting in Athens, involving the woman, who lives in Monaco.

Prefer pop to water? So did she -- the site explains that the case report detailed how the woman relied on soda for half her life to meet her hydration needs:

"The woman, who lives in Monaco, a small country near southern France, was brought to a hospital after she fainted. A blood test showed she had severely low potassium levels. And a test of her heart's electrical activity revealed she had a condition called long QT syndrome, which can cause erratic heart beats."

"The woman did not have a family history of heart or hormone problems. But she told her doctors that, since the age of 15, she had not drunk any water — soda (specifically cola) was the only liquid she consumed. She drank about 2 liters (2 quarts) of cola daily, she said."

Even more compellingly, the woman's symptoms -- later linked to half a dozen similar reports of excess cola consumption and illness -- resolved within a week, after she quit drinking soda.

Dr. Naima Zarqane, of Princess Grace Hospital Centre in Monaco and a researcher on the study, said:

One of the take-home messages is that cardiologists need to be aware of the connection between cola consumption and potassium loss, and should ask patients found to have QT prolongation about beverage habits.