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Leaving The Salt In Cooking And On The Table

Heart failure patients may not need sodium restrictions.

Over the years, physicians and researchers have advocated less salt consumption in heart failure patients.  Although doctors make this recommendation frequently, patients are not always compliant.  Heart failure patients who may also be hypertension patients inspired the DASH diet, which includes decreased to no sodium intake, more fruits and vegetables, skinless poultry, and less saturated and trans fat. In heart failure patients, salt increases water retention, which is quite harmful to the function of the heart.

Researchers have recently stumbled across information regarding salt intake and heart failure patients’ long-term health.  In all actuality, salt consumption just may not be harmful to that population.  This may be a sigh of relief to heart failure patients, but in an interview from consumer.healthday.com with physician Rami Doukky of Chicago, patients should not jump on the bandwagon just yet.

In a study performed by Doukky, 833 heart failure patients were evaluated with the new findings.  Divided into two groups consisting of 130 patients, one group consumed salt without any restrictions.  While the other group of subjects were salt-restricted.  Each patient was followed for a total of three years, and evaluated using an intake tracking method as well as a survey.

After analysis of results, it was found that 42% of the surveyed population following the salt-restricted diet were either admitted to the hospital with heart failure complications or they died.  In comparison,  26% of the subjects without salt restrictions developed further complications and/or death.

Although this gives heart failure patients hope, these findings need to be further studied.  The results favor no salt restriction due to a decreased percentage of complications, but different factors in each of the patients could have swayed results.  With emphasis from cardiologist Clyde Yancy at consumer.healthday.com, salt should not be automatically incorporated back into heart failure patients’ diets.  Salt is still a major contributor to high blood pressure, which can lead to cardiovascular complications.

Practice Pearls:

  • 26% of the subjects without salt restrictions developed further complications and/or death. In comparison, 42% following the salt-restricted diet were either admitted to the hospital with heart failure complications or they died.
  • Not all heart patients need to restrict their salt intake.
  • Salt reduction for some heart patients may not be helpful.

Doukky, Rami et al. “Impact Of Dietary Sodium Restriction On Heart Failure Outcomes”. JACC: Heart Failure 4.1 (2016): 24-35. Web. 17 Jan. 2016.

Consumer HealthDay,. “Reducing Salt Intake Might Harm Heart Failure Patients, Study Claims”. N.p., 2015. Web. 17 Jan. 2016.

 

Samantha Ferguson Doctorate of Pharmacy Candidate Florida A&M University, reviewed by Dave Joffe, BSPharm, CDE