Diabetics’ heart disease risk doubles with high salt intake


Too much salt in diabetic diets doubles the risk of heart disease

Although seldom studied, salt consumption can adversely affect the health of diabetics far more than it affects non-diabetics.

According to a Japanese study published the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers found that too much salt in diabetics’ diet doubles these patients’ risk for heart disease.

To assess the effect of salt in the diet of diabetics, researchers followed 1588 diabetic patients for 8 years and surveyed them about their diets, including their sodium intake. The participants were recruited from all over Japan and ranged in age from 40 to 70 years.

The results were surprising. Study participants with the highest sodium intake (averaging about 6000mg/day) were twice as likely to develop heart disease during the study period than those with the lowest sodium intake (averaging about 2800mg/day).

Among the 359 people with the highest sodium intake, 41 developed heart disease compared with 23 of the 354 people with lowest sodium intake.

The negative effects of salt on cardiovascular health have long been documented, and dietary guidelines for healthy people recommend limiting sodium to less than 2300mg a day. Additionally, groups at increased risk of heart disease—including African-Americans, people older than 51 and people with high blood pressure, kidney disease or diabetes are encouraged to limit their intake to less than 1500mg per day.

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This study’s findings are especially salient for practitioners in the United States, which has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world and, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average intake of sodium of 3300mg per day.