New Study Establishes Strong Relationship between Sodium Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases

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Researches from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) confirms the relationship between sodium intake and risk of cardiovascular diseases.

High sodium intake contributes to high blood pressure. However, coherent studies contested the linear relationship between sodium intake and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death. A new study by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital confirmed the relation using multiple precise measurements. According to Nancy Cook, ScD, a biostatistician in the Department of Medicine at BWH, consumed sodium levels are hard to measure from a dietary questionnaire and Sodium excretions are the best way to measure the levels.  The team used multiple measures to get the accurate values of intake. 24- Hour samples of urine were analyzed using spot test to determine the amount of salt excreted in a person’s urine. As sodium intake can vary on a daily basis, multiple samples were collected from several days.

Prior research on risks of high sodium intake analyzed the spot samples using the Kawasaki equation of estimation. However, this team assessed sodium intake in multiple ways, including estimates based on Kawasaki formula along with outputs from gold-standard method, which uses the average of multiple, non-consecutive urine samples. The researchers analyzed results for participants in the Trials of Hypertension Prevention (TOHP), which included several individuals with pre-hypertension. A direct linear relationship between increased sodium intake and increased risk of death was evident using the gold standard method and a J-shaped curve in the Kawasaki equation implied that both low levels and high levels of sodium consumption were associated with increased mortality. The research was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology on June 22, 2018.

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