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People With Heart Disease Eat Too Much Sodium

1 month, 2 weeks ago

2835  0
Posted on Apr 02, 2024, 7 p.m.

On average, the majority of heart disease patients consume more than twice the recommended daily amount of sodium, with little variation across socioeconomic groups, according to a press release from the American College of Cardiology (ACC). 

While sodium is an essential nutrient, too much can be bad, raising blood pressure, damaging blood vessels, and forcing the heart to work harder. Too much can also cause fluid retention, exacerbating conditions such as heart disease. Those with heart disease stand to gain the most by following a low-sodium diet, however, recent research being presented at the ACC’s Annual Scientific Session suggests that they are consuming over twice the recommended intake. 

The study of over 3,100 people with heart disease who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 2009 and 2018, found that 89% consumed more than twice the recommended daily maximum of 1,500 mg of sodium. Limiting sodium is a fundamental lifestyle modification that has been shown to reduce the likelihood of subsequent major adverse cardiovascular events. These findings highlight the challenges that many people face when trying to keep within recommended limits, regardless of factors such as socioeconomic status.

According to the U.S. CDC, the national average for sodium intake is 3,400 mg/day, the participants of the study with heart disease consumed an average of 3,096 mg/day. However, U.S Dietary Guidelines recommend that most adults should limit their sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg/day (one teaspoon), and those with cardiovascular disease should limit their intake to less than 1,500 mg/day according to the ACC and the American Heart Association. 

“Estimating sodium quantities in a meal can be challenging,” said Elsie Kodjoe, MD, MPH, an internal medicine resident at Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital in Athens, Georgia, and the study’s lead author. “Food labels aid in dietary sodium estimation by providing sodium quantities in packaged food. Yet, adhering to a low sodium diet remains challenging even for individuals with cardiovascular disease who have a strong incentive to adhere.”

“The relatively small difference in sodium intake suggests that people with cardiovascular disease are not limiting their intake very much compared with the general population and are also consuming more than double what is recommended,” Kodjoe said. “To make it easier for patients to adhere to dietary guidelines, we need to find more practical ways for the general public to estimate dietary sodium levels or perhaps consider a reduction in the sodium content of the food we consume right from the source.”

“Cardiovascular disease is real, and it is the number one cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide according to the World Health Organization,” Kodjoe said. “Adhering to sodium guidelines is one of the easier strategies individuals could readily adopt to reduce hospitalizations, health care costs, morbidity and mortality associated with cardiovascular disease.”

Kodjoe will present the study, “The Impact of Income to Poverty Ratio on Sodium Intake Among Adults with Cardiovascular Disease,” on Sunday, April 7, 2024, at 3:15 p.m. ET / 19:15 UTC in Hall B4-5.

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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