News article

High-Salt Diets Could Double Risk Of Heart Woes For Diabetics

Posted:  Thursday, August 21, 2014

According to new study people who have type 2 diabetes who consume lots of salt in diet are putting themselves at a considerably high risk for developing heart problems.

Research warns the diets which are high in sodium can double the chances of having a stroke with the risk rising even higher in those who have poor glucose control. The risk skyrockets even higher among those whose diabetes isn't well-managed, a new Japanese study reports. The study found that people with diabetes who consumed an average of 5.9 grams of sodium daily had double the risk of developing heart disease than those who consumed, on average, 2.8 grams of sodium daily. In addition, heart disease risk jumped nearly 10-fold for people with poorly managed type 2 diabetes and a diet with excess salt.

"The findings are very important from a public health point of view," said Dr. Prakash Deedwania, chief of cardiology for the Veterans Administration Central California Health Care System and a professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.

"Everyone's focused on controlling blood sugar to prevent diabetes complications. Salt intake is not as well emphasized, but this shows it should be reduced as well," said Deedwania, a member of the American College of Cardiology's Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Committee.

Public health officials previously have established a link between diabetes and heart disease. There are about 29 million Americans with diabetes, and they die from heart disease at a rate 1.7 times higher than people without diabetes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Salt -- also called sodium -- is known to increase blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. Accordingly, U.S. nutritional guidelines call for limits on salt intake. Because of the already increased risk of heart disease, people with diabetes should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. People without diabetes should limit their sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams, the CDC says.

"This is something we have been touting with diabetes patients," said Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "Now we have more evidence to solidify our arguments."

Diabetes and salt have similar harmful effects on the cardiovascular system, Mezitis said. Both cause blood vessels to harden, and both increase the risk of blood clots that can cause a heart attack or stroke

.

"Because the vascular complications of diabetes are similar to those of salt, that's where it becomes doubly as bad," he said. "The higher the salt intake, the worse the cardiovascular effects we see."