Summary of Topic Here

Lowering salt intake has been shown to be beneficial in decreasing the risk for cardiovascular disease and other health related issues. Eating diets that are high in salt content increases sodium levels in the blood, leading to increased blood volume since sodium attracts and retains water. The increased blood volume causes the arteries to constrict and as a result, the heart has to work harder to move the blood through the blood vessels. Thus salt intake attributes to high blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends consuming less than five grams of salt per day in order to decrease risk for heart disease. However, the typical American consumes more than ten grams per day, making salt intake a very important public health concern that needs to be addressed. Reducing salt intake to the recommended dietary amount can result in almost four million fewer deaths from cardiovascular related illnesses around the world (Strazzullo, 2009).
How much salt is too much?.Reducing Daily Salt Intake

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Trends in Mean Sodium Intake from Food for Three Gender/Age Groups, 1971-1974 to 2003-2006
Source: Briefel and Johnson (2004) and NHANES (2003-2006)

Important Definitions Here

The AHA recommendations for sodium intake is less than 2.3 grams per day. Two grams of sodium is equivalent to five grams of salt or about one teaspoon.
Cardiovascular Disease-An abnormal function of the heart and blood vessels.
Stroke-Occasion or hemorrhage of a cerebral artery resulting in impaired function, tissue damage, or death.
Hypertension-Persistently high arterial blood pressure; defined as systolic blood above 140 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure above 90 mm Hg.

Links to Individual Group Members' Nutrition Headlines Here

McCabe, Study: Cutting Sodium Can Have Big Health Benefits (2010); TIME Health & Science Webpage
The TIME news article, Cutting Sodium Can Have Health Benefits summarizes a cohort epidemiologic experiment conducted by Dr. Kristen Bibbins-Domingo. The experiment determined that reducing sodium by 3 grams per day does have health benefits. According to the article, the study used a computer-based analysis to conduct the experiment and also determined the cost benefits of reducing salt intakes. The study chose subjects that were 35 years and older, black and non-black male and females (Domingo et al, 2010). Results from the study indicate that reducing salt even a modest amount can have dramatic health benefits, for example, an annual drop of up to 120,000 cases of heart disease, 66,000 instances of stroke, 99,000 heart attacks caused by high blood pressure and health care cost savings from $10-$24 billion annually for the United States. The article also states that sodium intakes for the American population is above the recommended levels and even reducing salt by 3 g is still within the recommendations for daily sodium intake.

Previous studies indicate salt intake is increasing and related to higher risks for cardiovascular diseases and stroke. One study which used a systematic approach of prospective cohort studies. This study determined that a high daily salt intake is associated with greater risks of strokes and total cardiovascular diseases (Strazzullo et al, 2009). The Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Imperial College in London and the World Health Organization examined the salt intake in 32 countries. According to the results from the study, sodium intake for most adults worldwide is above 100 mmol/day or 2.3 g per day (Brown et al, 2009). Both studies justify the results and validate the conclusions as stated by the article.

I think the article qualifies as more “news” than “noise”. The article gives clear and understandable evidence, stating that decreasing sodium intake by 3 g will have health benefits. The authors of the study concluded that a reduction of 3 g of sodium “…is projected to is projected to benefit the entire U.S. population and yield substantial reductions in morbidity, mortality, and health care costs.” The article gives information that is consistent with other finding from other peer-reviewed literature.

Cox, Sodium Intake, Stroke, and Cardiovascular Disease (2009); Mens News Daily
The news article Sodium Intake, Stroke, and Cardiovascular Disease summarizes research findings that suggest consuming more than five grams of salt per day increases the risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. According to the headline, the American Heart Association recommends consuming less than five grams of salt per day; however, the average salt intake in the United States is much higher than that at almost ten grams per day. The headline uses results from a meta-analysis that examines the relationship between dietary salt intake and cardiovascular disease, in which the authors of this journal article performed systemic reviews of thirteen cohort studies (Strazzullo, 2009). Each study was evaluated and crucial information regarding each participant such as age, sex, recruitment and follow up times, level of salt intake, method for assessing salt intake, and health outcomes were recorded. A total of 117,025 participants were included and follow up ranged from four years of age to nineteen years of age. In total, there were 5,346 strokes reported and 5,161 cardiovascular events. Based on the results of this meta-analysis, a reduction in salt intake to below six grams per day is associated with reductions in systolic blood pressure of 7mm Hg and a decrease in diastolic blood pressure of 4mm Hg. These levels could reduce the rate of stroke by twenty four percent and reduce heart disease by eighteen percent (Strazzullo, 2009).

Sixty-two percent of all strokes and forty-nine percent of all heart disease events are attributed to high blood pressure, which is directly correlated with high salt intake. Studies using randomized trials to examine the long term effects that reducing dietary salt intake has on cardiovascular events shows it can lower blood pressure, prevent hypertension, and reduce long term risk for cardiovascular disease (Cook, 2007). The reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease could be as high as twenty-five to thirty percent. Another randomized clinical trial examined the effects reducing sodium intake from the average intake amount (150mmols per day) to below the recommended amount (100mmols per day) has on hypertension and lowering blood pressure. This study also examined whether the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) lowers blood pressure even more than just reducing salt intake (Sacks, 2001). Not only did this study contribute to other research by providing evidence that reducing sodium intake does lower blood pressure and thus decreases risk for cardiovascular disease, but it also proved the DASH diet significantly lowers blood pressure and prevents hypertension. Both of these studies used randomized trials to provide strong and precise data.

This news headline, in my opinion, is actual news in which it provides the consumer evidence that salt intake does indeed increase risk for both cardiovascular disease and stroke, as well as proving that decreasing salt intake is beneficial to overall health. Each journal article referenced justifies the findings in this news article. The World Heart Federation estimates about five million deaths around the world from stroke and almost eighteen million deaths from cardiovascular related diseases. The study summarized in this headline shows that even a small decrease in salt intake could decrease deaths by stroke by one million and decrease deaths by cardiovascular disease by three million. For consumers, this article provides sound evidence that reducing salt intake is beneficial to everyone and these dietary changes should be implemented.

Conclusion

The average sodium intake in the United States is greater than 10 grams a day, way above the recommendation set by American Heart Association. With the increase of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure, much news is being released about sodium intake. However, the majority of people can not decipher from factual information or fluffed information. Cutting Sodium Can Have Big Health Benefits and Sodium Intake, Stroke and Cardiovascular Disease were both examined to determine whether they were considered “news” or “noise”. Both articles were based from previous studies and summarized the results from the study. Additional peer reviewed articles were researched to validate the information stated in the articles. Both of the articles were deemed news because the information stated was accurate and concise with other findings from other studies. Sodium intake is linked to higher incidences of cardiovascular disease, stroke and hypertension.

References


Bibbin-Domingo K., Chertow G. M., Coxson P.G., et al. Projected Effect of Dietary Salt Reductions on Future Cardiovascular Disease. New England Journal of Medicine. 2010;362:590-599.



Brown I.J., Tzoulaki I., Candeias V., Elliot P. Salt Intake Around the World: Implications for Public Health. International Journal of Epidemiology. 2009;238:791-813.


Strazzullo P, D’Elia L, Kandala, NB, et al. Salt intake, stroke, and cardiovascular disease: metaanalysis of prospective studies. BMJ [online]. 2009; 339:4567. Available at: http://www.bmj.com/content/339/bmj.b4567.full.pdf?sid=f3e3c1f1-53ca-41ca-9880-ef5e0801d1d. Accessed September 12, 2010.


Cook N, Cutler JA, Obarzanek E, et al. Long term effects of dietary sodium reduction on cardiovascular disease outcomes: observational follow-up of the trials of hypertension prevention (TOHP). BMJ [online]. 2007; 334:7599. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1857760/ Accessed September 10, 2010.


Sacks F, Svetkey L, Vollmer W, et al. Effects on Blood Pressure of Reduced Dietary Sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet. The New England Journal of Medicine [online]. 2001; 344:3-10 Available at: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM200101043440101. Accessed September 12, 2010.