Study Finds Many Individuals With Cardiovascular Disease Consume Twice Daily Recommendation of Sodium

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Investigators found that 89% of individuals with cardiovascular disease consumed more than 1500 mg of sodium daily.

On average, individuals with cardiovascular disease (CVD) consume over twice the daily recommended intake of sodium, according to results of a study presented at the American Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session from April 6 to April 8, 2024, in Atlanta, Georgia.1

According to the CDC, the average American consumes more than 3400 mg of sodium per day, which is above the federal recommendation of less than 2300 mg daily. The agency added that most sodium that is consumed is through salt, and when having too much, it can increase blood pressure and the risk for heart disease and stroke.2

Salt in wooden bowl on dark stone table. | Image Credit: Milan - stock.adobe.com

Image Credit: Milan - stock.adobe.com

“Estimating sodium quantities in a meal can be challenging,” Elsie Kodjoe, MD, MPH, an internal medicine resident at Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital in Athens, Georgia, said in a press release. “Food labels aid in dietary sodium estimation by providing sodium quantities in packaged food. Yet, adhering to a low sodium diet remains challenging even for individuals with [CVD] who have a strong incentive to adhere.”1

In the study, investigators used date from individuals who were diagnosed with heart attack, stroke, heart failure, coronary artery disease, or angina and were included in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2009 and 2018. Investigators estimated the sodium intake based on questionnaires in which individuals reported what they consumed in 24 hours, according to the press release.1

In the sample of more than 3100 individuals with CVD, investigators found that 89% of individuals consumed more than 1500 mg of sodium, and on average, individuals consumed twice the recommended amount, according to the press release. Investigators also reported that individuals with CVD consumed an average of 3096 mg of sodium per day, lower than the 3400 mg per day average reported by the CDC. According to the investigators, limiting sodium intake can reduce the likelihood of subsequent major adverse cardiovascular events, and the findings show how many individuals face challenges in adhering to the recommended sodium limits. Further, they said the results demonstrated this regardless of other factors, which included socioeconomic status.1

“The relatively small difference in sodium intake suggests that people with [CVD] are not limiting their intake very much compared with the general population and are also consuming more than double what is recommended,” Kodjoe said in the press release. “To make it easier for patients to adhere to dietary guidelines, we need to find more practical ways for the general public to estimate dietary sodium levels or perhaps consider a reduction in the sodium content of the food we consume right from the source.”1

Key Takeaways

  1. Individuals with CVD consumed an average of 3096 mg of sodium daily, exceeding recommended limits.
  2. 89% of CVD patients consumed more than 1500mg of sodium, suggesting difficulty adhering to a low-sodium diet.
  3. Lowering sodium intake can reduce the risk of future cardiovascular events.

Kodjoe added that individuals can take proactive measures to lower sodium intake, such as preparing meals at home where they can control the sodium content in the food. Investigators added that individuals should look for foods with sodium levels of 140 mg or less per serving. Further, they suggested better education around the benefits of limiting sodium, in hope that it could better motivate individuals to follow the recommendations.1

One limitation of the study included that sodium intake was based on food recall instead of a 24-hour urine sodium measures, which is the gold standard method, according to the press release.1

References
  1. Majority of people with heart disease consume too much sodium. News release. EurekAlert. April 2, 2023. Accessed April 2, 2024. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/1039621
  2. CDC. Salt: Sodium Intake and Health. June 6, 2023. Accessed April 2, 2024. https://www.cdc.gov/salt/index.htm#:~:text=Eating%20too%20much%20sodium%20can,the%20health%20of%20your%20heart
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