Too Much Salt May Boost Risk of Heart Disease in Kidney Patients

Recent research has found a link between high sodium intake and elevated risk of heart disease and stroke in kidney patients.

Recent research has found a link between high sodium intake and elevated risk of heart disease and stroke in kidney patients.

BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A recently published study found a link between high-sodium consumption and an above average risk of developing heart disease and stroke in patients diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.

Researchers found that high-salt diets may up kidney patients’ risk of heart failure and stroke in the long term.

The study involved 3,757 kidney patients from seven health centers in the U.S. The participants were tracked for 10 years and their urinary sodium levels were assessed on an annual basis. The mean age of volunteers was 58.

Volunteers agreed to provide urine samples to have their sodium levels measured every year for three years in a row. Next, researchers tracked the patient’s health for at least five more years. The team was especially interested in the incidence of heart failure, heart attack, and stroke.

Researchers found that participants who ingested more salt and thus had higher sodium levels in their urine had a higher risk of heart failure, heart attack, and stroke. High-sodium diets were tied to an up to 29.8 percent higher risk of developing one of these three conditions, the study showed.

Participants who ate too much salt had an up to 23.2 percent higher risk of heart failure, a 10.9 percent higher risk of heart attack, and 10.9 percent higher risk of stroke.

Researchers believe that the newly found link may be due to the way salt influences blood pressure levels. Plus, kidney patients are especially sensitive to high levels of salt as their ill kidneys can no longer properly eliminate the substance from their bodies.

The latest study is unique because unlike previous research it wasn’t based on surveys and self-reports, which may sometimes be biased. Researchers used urine samples to assess sodium intake in their patients. Past studies had shown that 24-hour urinary excretion of sodium is mainly influenced by how much salt a person consumes.

The study found a statistically significant link between high salt consumption and higher risk of cardiovascular events. The link remained consistent even after researchers adjusted the results for other risk factors that may influence the outcome.

Nevertheless, study authors acknowledged that their work has some limitations since they haven’t taken into consideration all cofounders that may undermine kidney patients’ cardiovascular health.

A research paper detailing the findings was published in the May 24/31, 2016 issue of JAMA.

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