"This study represents the evidence that a reduction of salt intake not only lowers blood pressure but also prevents cardiovascular events. The case for population-wide salt reduction is now compelling," he added.
In the paper, Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo and colleagues, from the University of California, San Francisco, USA, undertook a computer simulation showing the effects of population wide reductions of dietary salt intakes in all adults aged 35 to 85 years in the USA. Reducing dietary salt intake by 3 g per day (1200mg less sodium per day) could result in 60,000 to 120,000 fewer cases of heart disease , 32,000 to 66,000 fewer strokes and 54,000 to 100,000 fewer heart attacks.
A reduction in dietary salt of 3g per day, the authors went on to say, would have approximately the same effect on reducing cardiac events as a 50 % reduction in tobacco use, a 5% reduction in body mass index among obese adults or the use of statins to treat people at low or intermediate risk for CHD events. Furthermore, reducing dietary salt intakes by 3g per day would save $10 billion to $ 24 billion in annual health care costs.
ESC spokesperson Professor Giuseppe Mancia, from the University of Milano-Bicocca, St. Gerardo Hospital (Milan, Italy), said the annual health cost savings outlined in the study would be likely to prove a persuasive argument for both the EU and individual European governments.
Recent studies clearly show that salt reduction reduces cardiovascular deaths.4
Epidemiological studies have also firmly established that increased intakes of salt directly increase blood pressure. High salt intakes are believed to exert their detrimental effects by influencing fluid retention, which in turn increases blood pressure. "But it's important for patients to appreciate that not all cardiovascular problems relating to salt are mediated through hypertension. Salt can have an adverse effect on cardiovascular health, even among people with normal blood pressure," said Ruschitzka.
Salt intakes across Europe are known to vary widely, ranging from 8.6 g of salt per day in the UK, to around 12 g salt in Croatia. Even the best intakes, however, are falling widely short of the ESC Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Arterial Hypertension(2), based on WHO data, that recommend that only 5g of salt should be consumed per day. This amounts to just one teaspoonful.
While individuals may use salt sparingly at home, around 75 % of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy. This, says the ESC, underlines the need for legislation to lay down guidelines. "The reality of international food production in Europe means that such public health initiatives need to be tackled on a European wide basis, rather than an individual country basis," said Ruschitzka.
Furthermore, added Mancia, concerted action is usually more effective. "It has the advantage of preventing country to country inequalities and furthermore prevents the reinvention of the wheel in each individual country," he said.
But calls for legislation do not mean that physicians should stop their efforts to persuade patients to introduce individual changes in lifestyle. Patients, they stress, need to be taught about the importance of reducing salt in their cooking and also for the need to check food labels. People need to learn to appreciate that the salt contents can vary widely even in the same product. Take bread, for example. Recent research from Consensus Action on Salt and Health (a charity lobbying food manufacturers in the UK) has shown that the highest salt content was 3g salt per 100 g of bread, while the lowest was 0.7 g salt per 100g.
To improve cardiovascular health, salt reduction cannot be undertaken in isolation. "It needs to be remembered that lifestyle measures such as smoking cessation, weight reduction, increased physical exercise, and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables are also important for reducing cardiovascular disease," said Mancia.
Salt will again be on the agenda with World Salt Awareness Week 2010 , which runs from February 1- 7 (3). The week is being run by World Action on Salt and Health (WASH), a global group that works with governments to highlight the need for widespread introduction of population based salt reduction strategies.
Much can be done to reduce salt intakes through public health policy, say WASH. They cite the success of Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH), launched in 1996 to encourage food manufacturing companies in the UK to make voluntary reductions in their salt content. Since the start of the policy salt intakes among UK adults (calculated from 24-hour urine samples) have fallen from 9.5 to 8.6 g per day.
In July 2009, WASH surveyed over 260 food products available around the world from food manufacturers such as KFC, McDonalds, Kellogg's, Nestle, Burger King and Subway, finding surprisingly wide spread variations. For example, Kellogg's All Bran for sale in France, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands contains 1.30 g salt per 100 g compared to salt levels of 0.65 g per 100g for the product in the US. Such data underlines the urgent need to eradicate country to country inequalities, and bring everyone up to the highest possible standards.
"The paper by Bibbins-Domingo and colleagues is an urgent call to action. Policy makers in the European Community need to implement public health interventions that result in reductions in salt intake now. Reducing the salt content of our unneccesarily oversalted ,processed food is an inexpensive, yet highly effective public health intervention that we can't afford to miss," concluded Ruschitzka.
1. Bibbins-Domingo K, Glenn CC, Coxson PG et al. Projected Effect of Dietary Salt Reductions on Future Cardiovascular Disease. New Engl J Med. 2010. Published on-line January 20.
4. Pasquale Strazzullo, Lanfranco D'Elia, Ngianga-Bakwin Kandala, and Francesco P Cappuccio. Salt intake, stroke, and cardiovascular disease: meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMJ 2009;339:b4567, doi: 10.1136/bmj.b4567 (Published 24 November 2009)
ESC Press Office | EurekAlert!
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.08.2017 | Materials Sciences