The risk of heart failure increases with salt consumption
Excessive salt consumption has long been associated with various health problems such as high blood pressure or an increased risk of stroke. Finnish scientists have now found that the risk of heart failure increases with high salt consumption. Overall, the findings speak for a significant reduction in salt intake.
The salt content in food is so high today that the recommended maximum daily dose of the World Health Organization (WHO) in this country is exceeded by most people. This excessive salt consumption has a particularly adverse effect on the cardiovascular system. In addition to the risk of high blood pressure, according to a recent study presented at the European Cardiology Congress (ESC) in Barcelona, the risk of heart failure (heart failure) is also increasing.
Increased risk of high blood pressure and stroke is already known
"High salt consumption is a major cause of high blood pressure and a known risk factor for stroke and coronary heart disease (CHD)," reports the German Society for Cardiology (DGK). So far, however, it has remained open whether excessive salt intake also increases the risk of heart failure. In the current study, the Finnish research team led by Prof. Pekka Jousilahti from the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki investigated this question. They examined salt consumption and the risk of heart failure in more than 4,500 subjects.
121 subjects developed heart failure
In the study, the individual salt consumption of 4,630 participants was measured using 24-hour urine samples, which at this point is the gold standard for the survey. For example, "the researchers were not dependent on the test subjects' own information," explains the DGK. Furthermore, the weight, size, blood pressure and various laboratory parameters in the blood were determined. The subjects were accompanied for a total of 12 years. During the observation period, 121 study participants developed heart failure.
Twice the risk of heart failure
When evaluating possible correlations between salt consumption and the likelihood of heart failure, it became clear that “People who consumed more than 13.7 grams of salt a day were (twice) more likely to develop heart failure than those who did consumed the least salt ”(under 6.8 grams), reports the DGK. According to the WHO recommendation, the daily salt requirement is two to three grams and a maximum of five grams of salt per day is advisable. "Anyone who eats a very high salt diet has a significantly increased risk of developing heart failure," the researchers concluded at the ESC.
Salt consumption in Germany too high
"The usual salt consumption in Germany is well above these recommendations," reports Professor Dr. Eckart Fleck, spokesman for the German Society for Cardiology (DGK) on the occasion of the current study results. According to the DGK, data from the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) show that men in Germany ingest 10 grams of salt on average and women 8.4 grams. The results of the current study are "a further indication that cardiovascular prevention should be given even more importance through suitable nutrition and other lifestyle measures," emphasizes Prof. Dr. Spot.
Salt intake over processed foods
In Germany, around 80 percent of the daily salt intake is from processed food, reports the DGK, citing German consumer advice centers. Much of the salt comes from processed foods, with the main sources being bread and rolls (27 to 28 percent of salt intake), meat and sausages (15 to 21 percent), dairy products and cheese (10 to 11 percent). In addition, ready meals and instant soups usually contain a lot of salt and nibbles are also noticeable here. A rethink would have to take place on many levels in order to significantly reduce salt intake across Germany and thus minimize the health consequences of high salt consumption. (fp)