Fatal heart attacks, strokes and other heart-related diseases caused by over consumption of salt is being blamed for 2.3 million deaths worldwide in 2010, according to a study presented March 21 at an American Heart Association (AHA) conference in New Orleans. In the United States, salt consumption averages 3,600 mg. a day, more than double the 1,500-mg. daily limit the AHA recommends. Study authors blame 10 percent of deaths in the U.S. to over consumption of salt.
The study, funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, analyzed 247 adult sodium consumption surveys taken between 1990 and 2010.
“This study is the first time that information about sodium intake by country, age and gender is available. We hope our findings will influence national governments to develop public health interventions to lower sodium.” —Saman Fahimi, M.D., M.Phil., lead author
Commercially prepared food, soy sauce added to cooking and table salt were found to be large contributors to salt consumption. In another study presented at the AHA March 21 conference, researchers found that 75 percent of commercially-prepared and packaged toddler foods have high-sodium content, with some prepared meals containing as much as 630 mg. per serving.
Salt is a necessary nutrient, but too much salt will cause the body to retain an excessive amount of fluids, increasing blood pressure, which places an additional burden on the heart.