Can cutting back on salt help keep the heart healthy?

By Steven Reinberg
Health Announcer

TUESDAY, April 5, 2022 (HealthDay News) – If you’re having a heart attack, there’s good news and bad news on how much it can help you reduce salt.

New research shows that while it does not prevent death or stroke among patients, it is also known to improve their quality of life.

Patients with heart disease have been told for years to reduce the salt in their diet as a way to help prolong life, but among patients over 800 In six countries, salt reduction did not prevent deaths, such as visits to emergency rooms or hospitals. , the researchers found.

However, “we think there is little to be gained by reducing the amount of sodium in the diet,” said researcher Drs. Justin Ezekowitz is a professor in the department of cardiology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

The patients in the study ate less salt than most Americans ate, even though they did not achieve the optimal goal of salt intake stated. She explained.

“The intended goal is not to reduce unnecessary medical events, but to improve the quality of life, which is probably important for patients,” Ezekowitz said.

For the study, the research team tracked heart attack patients from 26 medical centers in Australia, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Mexico and New Zealand. Only half was given for basic maintenance, and the rest came from dietary advice on reducing their salt intake.

Patients who received counseling were given guidelines and encouraged to cook at home without adding salt. They were encouraged to avoid salty foods.

Patients were asked to keep their salt intake at 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day – about two -thirds of a teaspoon. Prior to the study, patients added an average of 2,217 mg daily, or one teaspoon. After one year, those who did not receive the diet counseling ate an average of 2,072 mg of salt per day, and those who received the diet guide ate 1,658 mg per day. today.

Although Ezekowitz’s group did not find significant differences in mortality or morbidity between the two groups of patients, those on a low -salt diet reported improved performance. the quality of life and the hardness of their hearts.

Ezekowitz thinks that these results may be different if the training is longer and if the use of salt is lower.

It’s not a license to eat as much salt as you want, he added.

“People need to worry about how much salt in their diet and continue to reduce the sodium in their entire diet,” Ezekowitz said. “There may be some benefits that we haven’t measured in our clinical trials that they have had from reducing salt in the diet. A low -salt diet can really improve their overall quality of life. Taking it “In the home is low sodium. Food is an important factor in most illnesses.”

The report was published online April 2 at The LancetThe journal was published and presented at the annual conference of the American College of Cardiology in Washington, DC

Dr. Gregg Fonarow, chief of the department of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that for years patients with heart disease were told to limit their salt intake.

“This long and accepted statement is based on a physiologic rationale, a review of medicine and technology rather than a report in non -clinical trials,” he said.

Although more recent guidelines for heart failure have confirmed the lack of understanding about the benefits of salt reduction, it has been reported that many patients reduce their salt intake to normal levels. very low, says Fonarow.

“Evidence from this critical clinical trial showed that dietary sodium limit to a target of less than 1,500 mg daily in patients with coronary heart disease did not reduce mortality. , a cardiovascular clinic or cardiovascular emergency room pictures, “he said. .

For patients with coronary heart disease, it’s not clear if a certain level of salt may provide medical benefits, Fonarow said.

“But it’s important to remember that the average health care group that eats a little over 2,000 mg of sodium per day is much lower than 3,400 mg of sodium which is the most. most of which are consumed in the U.S. by the general population, ”he said.

Patients with a heart attack should discuss with their doctor how this new information applies to them, Fonarow said.

The key to staying true to one’s heart is to follow proven advice, he said.

“Importantly, the use and maintenance of disease -changing guidelines and medications have been shown to be the most effective and safe way to improve treatment outcomes for patients with heart disease. heart, ”Fonarow said.

See more

For more on salt and heart health, visit the American Heart Association.

TEACHERS: Justin Ezekowitz, MBBCh, professor, division of cardiology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada; Gregg Fonarow, MD, head coach, UCLA Division of Cardiology, Los Angeles; The LancetApril 2, 2022, online

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