High-salt diet doubles risk of cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes

July 22, 2014 in Diabetes & Diabetes Prevention, Healthy Eating, Nutrition Topics in the News

High-salt diet doubles risk of cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes

People with Type 2 diabetes who eat a diet high in salt have twice the risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared to those who consume less sodium, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Diabetes occurs when there is too much sugar in the bloodstream. People develop Type 2 diabetes when their bodies become resistant to the hormone insulin, which carries sugar from the blood to cells.

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 from the University of Niigata Prefecture in Niigata, Japan. "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."

The nationwide study surveyed participants in the Japan Diabetes Complications Study who were between the ages of 40 and 70 and had been diagnosed with diabetes. In all, 1,588 people responded to a survey about their diets, including sodium intake. The researchers reviewed data on cardiovascular complications participants experienced over the course of eight years.

Researchers divided the participants into four groups based on their sodium intake. The analysis found people who ate an average of 5900 milligrams of sodium daily had double the risk of developing cardiovascular disease than those who ate, on average, 2800 milligrams of sodium daily. The effects of a high-sodium diet were exacerbated by poor blood sugar control. (The upper daily sodium limit is 2300 milligrams; people with borderline or high blood pressure should consume no more than 2000 milligrams each day.)

Source: Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2014.

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