Study Reveals Elevated Sodium Consumption Among Heart Disease Patients

by Ella

New research presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session highlights the concerning trend of elevated sodium intake among individuals with heart disease. Despite recommendations for reduced sodium consumption, a significant majority of patients surveyed consumed more than double the recommended daily intake.

Sodium, while essential, poses risks when consumed excessively, notably raising blood pressure and exacerbating cardiovascular conditions. Current guidelines advise most adults to limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg/day, with a stricter limit of 1,500 mg/day for individuals with cardiovascular diseases. However, the study found that 89% of over 3,100 heart disease patients surveyed exceeded the recommended maximum, averaging more than twice the advised amount.


Dr. Elsie Kodjoe, lead author of the study and an internal medicine resident at Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital in Georgia, emphasized the importance of adhering to sodium guidelines, citing its significant impact on reducing adverse cardiovascular events. Despite the strong incentive for heart disease patients to follow these guidelines, challenges persist, including difficulties in estimating sodium quantities in meals.


Utilizing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers estimated sodium intake based on 24-hour dietary recall questionnaires. The findings revealed an average sodium intake of 3,096 mg/day among cardiovascular disease patients, only slightly lower than the national average reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Kodjoe highlighted the need for practical strategies to facilitate adherence to dietary guidelines, suggesting potential reductions in the sodium content of foods and improved education on sodium awareness. Encouraging individuals to prepare meals at home, pay attention to food labels, and target low-sodium options were among the proactive measures suggested by researchers.


The study also investigated socioeconomic disparities in sodium intake but found no significant differences after accounting for demographic factors. Despite these findings, Kodjoe emphasized the critical role of sodium reduction in mitigating the burden of cardiovascular disease, stressing its potential to reduce hospitalizations, healthcare costs, and mortality associated with the condition.

While the study’s estimation of sodium intake relied on dietary recall questionnaires rather than gold-standard urine measurements, future studies utilizing more precise methods could provide further insights into sodium consumption among individuals with cardiovascular disease.



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