Heart Healthy Study On Salt Intake Changes Rules

Too much salt is dangerous for adults suffering  from conditions including heart disease or diabetes.  Now a new study finds that too little salt may be almost as dangerous.

According to researchers reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association reducing salt is still very important in people consuming more than 6,000 or 7,000 milligrams of sodium per day.  It is estimated that the average American consumes 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day.

The lead scientists who conducted studies report that people who already consume moderate or average amounts of salt may not need to reduce their intake further.
“Apparently, after years of agreement among medical experts that people should lower their salt intake, there is new debate,” explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.  The national trade organization tracks health issues which can impact American’s need for costly long term care.

A recent research study found that while cutting back on salt did lower blood pressure, it may also increase levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and other risk factors for heart disease.   Heart disease is a major risk factor facing adults Slome notes.

The latest study looked at levels of sodium and potassium excreted in urine in a group of about 30,000 men and women with heart disease or at high risk for heart disease. Participants were followed for an average of more than four years.

The researchers found that people who excreted higher levels of sodium than those with mid-range values had a greater risk of dying from heart disease, heart attack, stroke and hospitalization for heart failure.  When the researchers assessed potassium levels, they found that a higher level of excretion of the nutrient was associated with a lower risk of stroke.

New U.S. dietary guidelines now recommend that people aged 2 years and older limit daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg).  People aged 51 and older, blacks and anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease should consider going down to 1,500 mg per day, many experts say.

Financial planning experts note that most people wait too long to consider their options because the right time to plan is prior to turning age 65 before medical conditions like cancer, high blood pressure are diagnosed or become problematic.  “The sweet spot for <a href=”http://www.aaltci.org/long-term-care-insurance/”>long term care insurance<a> is between ages 52 and 64,” Slome adds.

For more information on long term care insurance, visit the Association’s Consumer Information center.

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