Low salt in­take may raise risk of heart at­tack, stroke and death

Pakistan Observer - - KARACHI CITY -

Ahigh salt in­take has been linked to in­creased blood pres­sure and greater risk for heart prob­lems. But ac­cord­ing to new re­search, low salt in­take may be just as harm­ful.

Re­searchers sug­gest only peo­ple with high blood pres­sure who have a high salt in­take should re­duce their salt con­sump­tion. Pub­lished in The Lancet, the study found that low salt, or sodium, in­take may raise the risk of heart at­tack, stroke, and death, com­pared with an av­er­age salt in­take.

Lead au­thor An­drew Mente, of the Michael G. De­G­roote School of Medicine at McMaster Univer­sity in Canada, and col­leagues say their re­sults in­di­cate only peo­ple with high blood pres­sure (hy­per­ten­sion) who have a high salt in­take should re­duce their salt con­sump­tion. Fur­ther­more, the re­searchers sug­gest cur­rent rec­om­men­da­tions for daily salt con­sump­tion may be set too low.

The Di­etary Guide­lines for Amer­i­cans rec­om­mend that Amer­i­cans con­sume less than 2,300 mil­ligrams of sodium each day the equiv­a­lent to 1 tea­spoon of salt.

How­ever, a re­port from the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (CDC) ear­lier this year re­vealed that around 90 per­cent of Amer­i­cans con­sume salt at lev­els above the rec­om­mended limit. It is widely ac­cepted that too much salt in the diet can lead to high blood pres­sure, in­creas­ing the risk for heart at­tack, stroke, and other car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases.

But does re­duc­ing salt in­take to the lev­els rec­om­mended in cur­rent guide­lines re­ally re­duce the risk of such out­comes? This is what Mente and col­leagues set out to in­ves­ti­gate. The team an­a­lyzed data of more than 130,000 in­di­vid­u­als span­ning 49 coun­tries. They looked at the sodium in­take of par­tic­i­pants and how this re­lated to the risk of heart dis­ease and stroke among those with and with­out high blood pres­sure.

Com­pared with peo­ple who had an av­er­age sodium in­take, the rates of heart at­tack, stroke, and death were higher among those who had a low sodium in­take, re­gard­less of whether par­tic­i­pants had high blood pres­sure. In­ter­est­ingly, low salt in­take in the study was de­fined as an in­take of less than 3,000 mil­ligrams a day, which is above cur­rent rec­om­men­da­tions in the United States.

Fur­ther­more, the re­searchers found that only in­di­vid­u­als with high blood pres­sure ap­peared to be sub­ject to the risks as­so­ci­ated with high salt in­take de­fined as more than 6,000 mil­ligrams daily.

Mente says the team’s find­ings are “ex­tremely im­por­tant” for in­di­vid­u­als with high blood pres­sure. “While our data high­lights the im­por­tance of re­duc­ing high salt in­take in peo­ple with hy­per­ten­sion, it does not sup­port re­duc­ing salt in­take to low lev­els.

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