Hypertension Complications Infographic

Americans love sugar-sweetened beverages, and too many of them (Americans) consume far too much of them (sugary beverages). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that approximately 30% of American adults drank sugar-sweetened beverages, including soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened tea, at least once a day in 2011. Unfortunately for lovers of sugar-sweetened beverages, habitual consumption of these types of liquids can wreak havoc on their health. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, regular intake of large amounts of soft drinks are associated with increased risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis. Evidence shows that sugary beverages may be a contributing factor to the development of hypertension.

The findings of a 2015 study revealed that habitual consumption of sugared beverages may accelerate the onset of hypertension. In this study, a team of researchers from Mayo Clinic analyzed nutritional and clinical data extracted from eight (8) studies which examined the link between the intake of sugary beverages and the risk of developing hypertension. The research team found out that subjects with high intakes of soft drinks had greater chances of developing hypertension. The results of this study are in-line with the findings of a similar study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which reported that generous consumption of more than one serving of soft drinks per day elevated the odds of developing hypertension by 12%.

The World Health Organization-International Society of Hypertension (WHO-ISH) defines hypertension as a persistent elevation of blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHg. Normal levels of systolic and diastolic blood pressure are vital for the efficient functioning of key body organs, such as the heart, brain, and kidneys, as well as for overall health and well-being. Also known as high or raised blood pressure, hypertension can quietly cause damage to the brain, eyes, kidneys, arteries, and other body organs for years, even before symptoms develop. In some cases, some patients do not even develop symptoms from high blood pressure at all, which is why hypertension is nick-named the  "Silent Killer." And indeed, hypertension does kill about 37,000 Americans every year and is a contributing factor in another 700,000 deaths.

Behavioral and lifestyle choices can affect an individual's risk of hypertension. Consistent intake of soft drinks can greatly increase the likelihood of developing high blood pressure. Avoiding sweetened beverages can help individuals reduce their chances of ending up with this sometimes fatal cardiovascular disease which was responsible for more than 1000 deaths per day in the United States in 2014. Statistics like that are not so sweet. Determine not to become one of them. 

Additional Information:

(1) Sugary Drinks Linked to 180,000 Deaths Worldwide

(2) Sugary Beverages Add to Type 2 Diabetes Risk

(3) Soft Drinks May Boost Osteoporosis and Bone Fracture Risk

(4) Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)- High Blood Pressure Fact Sheet

(5) Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)- Prevalence of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Among Adults

(6) World Health Organization: Hypertension

(7) Sugar and Artificially-Sweetened Soda Consumption Linked to Hypertension: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis