Australian study indicates a high fizzy drink consumption increases asthma risk

A recent study conducted at the University of Adelaide, has suggested that those who consume a high level of fizzy drinks (aka ‘soft drinks’), are at an increased danger of developing asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Asthma is a long-term respiratory disorder, where the air passages within the lungs unexpectedly become inflamed, narrowed, and swollen. This then prevents airflow into and out of the lungs. Attacks often occur in response to an allergen, cold air, exercise, or emotional stress.

COPD is a term used for numerous conditions, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. These are a pair of commonly co-existing diseases of the lungs in which the airways become narrowed, thus making it difficult for air to get in or out of the lungs. Asthma and COPD can exist in the same individual. However, in contrast to asthma, the inflammation of the lungs with COPD is not triggered by allergies and does not respond well to anti-inflammatory medication.

The researchers involved in the new study in Australia were led by Zumin Shi. They investigated the health and soft drink consumption of almost 17,000 individuals aged 16 and over in South Australia during the period 2008-2010. Participants in the study were quizzed on how many litres of soft drinks they typically drank each day and if they had been diagnosed with asthma or COPD.

It was discovered that the two conditions were prevalent in those who consumed over half a litre of softs drinks daily. Approximately 15 in every 100 people had asthma and 6 in 100 had COPD. In regards to those who claimed they did not consume these drinks whatsoever, 12 in 100 were found to have asthma and 4 in 100 had COPD.

It was then estimated that those who drank over half a litre of soft drinks per day were 26% more likely to have asthma and 79% more likely to have COPD. This was all determined after other factors were considered such as whether they were overweight or if they smoked. In addition the researchers also analysed smokers against non smokers. The people involved in the study who smoked and drank more than half a litre daily were 1.5 times more likely to have asthma than those who did not consume these drinks and 6 times more likely to have COPD. For non-smokers there was merely a slight rise in the risk of asthma and COPD in those who drank high quantities of soft drinks, the difference being too small to rule out being down to chance.

However, sceptics of the study may call for further and detailed experiments. The Australian study did not take into account things such as eating habits of those who drank soft drinks, whether the drinks were sugar free or not, and the reliance on the subjects to accurately detail their drinking habits, health and lifestyle, which could leave a lot of room for mistakes.

At Medical Specialists we offer a wide range of medications to help asthma sufferers, all at great prices. If you are suffering from asthma like symptoms, you should see your doctor immediately for a diagnosis. Your doctor is able to prescribe medication if he feels you have asthma. If you have already been prescribed an inhaler, have lost your inhaler, or run out and cannot get a prescription immediately, we are able to supply you an inhaler to help your asthma symptoms. We now offer both blue (relievers) inhalers such as Ventolin and Salbutamol, and brown (preventers) inhalers such as Qvar Beclomethasone, Qvar Easi-Breathe, and Pulvinal Beclomethasone.

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