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High-Salt Diet can Double the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Diabetics

Update Date: Jul 22, 2014 01:41 PM EDT
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Type 2 diabetes is a chronic illness that can be highly manageable with good diet, exercise and medication. In a new study, researchers examined the diets of people with type 2 diabetes. They found that diabetics who ate a high-salt diet had double the risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease in comparison to people who ate less salt.

"The study's findings provide clear scientific evidence supporting low-sodium diets to reduce the rate of heart disease among people with diabetes," said the study's first author, Chika Horikawa, RD, MSc, CDE, of the University of Niigata Prefecture in Niigata, Japan reported in the press release. "Although many guidelines recommend people with diabetes reduce their salt intake to lower the risk of complications, this study is among the first large longitudinal studies to demonstrate the benefits of a low-sodium diet in this population."

In this study, the researchers administered a survey to people from 59 outpatient centers and universities who were participating in the Japan Diabetes Complications Study. The participants were aged 40 to 70 and had been clinically diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. A total of 1,588 people provided information about their diets. The researchers examined the participants' heart health over eight years.

The team divided the participants into four groups based on their sodium intake. The researcher found that people from the group who consumed the highest amount of sodium, at an average of 5.9 grams per day, had double the risk of developing cardiovascular complications in comparison to people who ate an average of 2.8 grams of sodium per day. The researchers noted that the effects of eating a high salt diet were multiplied by the participants' poor blood sugar control.

"To reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, it is important for people who have Type 2 diabetes to improve their blood sugar control as well as watch their diet," Horikawa concluded. "Our findings demonstrate that restricting salt in the diet could help prevent dangerous complications from diabetes."

The study, "Dietary Sodium Intake and Incidence of Diabetes Complications in Japanese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes," was published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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