How a low-salt diet can help those living with heart failure

How a low-salt diet can help those living with heart failure

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New research finds that a low-salt diet may help improve the quality of life of people who are living with heart failure. Bruce and Rebecca Meisner/Stocksy United
  • People suffering from heart failure are often advised to go on a low-salt diet.
  • A new study indicates that it may help improve people’s quality of life.
  • However, it did not improve rates of death, hospitalization, or ER visits.
  • Patients are advised to consume less than 1500 mg of sodium daily.

people living together stop beating – A chronic condition where the heart muscles are unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs – is often advised to go on a low-salt diet.

The rationale behind this recommendation is that salt contains sodium and that too much sodium can cause fluid retention.

Limiting sodium in the diet can help reduce excess fluid buildup around the heart and lungs and in the legs of patients with heart failure.

It is believed to reduce the burden on an already overworking heart and reduce some of the negative symptoms associated with the condition, such as bloating, fatigue and cough.

However, until now, there was little scientific evidence to support this claim.

However, a new study published in the Lancet indicates that a low-salt diet may actually reduce these unpleasant symptoms and improve people’s overall quality of life.

To conduct the study, lead author Justin Ezekowitz, Professor of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta and co-director of the Canadian VIGOR Center, and his team studied 806 heart failure patients at 26 medical centers in Canada, United States. followed. Colombia, Chile, Mexico and New Zealand.

Half were randomly assigned to receive usual care. The rest were given advice on how to reduce salt consumption.

Dietitian-designed menu suggestions were given to those receiving nutritional counseling.

They were also encouraged to cook their own food, avoiding salt and high salt content.

His sodium goal was to consume less than 1,500 milligrams per day — or about two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt.

Those who received dietary counseling reduced their sodium consumption more than the group who did not.

Before the study, patients were taking an average of 2,217 mg daily.

At the end of the one-year study, patients receiving usual care had an average of approximately 2,073 mg of sodium per day.

On the other hand, patients receiving counseling were consuming an average of 1,658 mg per day too low.

However the results were mixed.

When it comes to mortality from any cause, cardiovascular hospitalizations, and cardiovascular emergency room visits, there was no real difference between the two groups.

However, where sodium restriction did make a difference was in people’s quality of life.

When the researchers assessed patients’ quality of life using three different instruments, they found significant improvement.

They also found improvements in a heart failure severity rating called the New York Heart Association Functional Classification.

What should the average person know about sodium? In short, we should all probably eat less, especially those at risk of heart disease.

“When it comes to salt, most Americans are getting way more than they need in our diets,” said Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD, registered dietitian with Ochsner Health and founder of Ochsner Eat Fit.

For healthy people, the recommendation is about 2,300 milligrams per day.

For people over the age of 51 or those at risk for heart disease, aim to further reduce salt consumption to 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day.

“Most of us get more than double that,” Kimball said.

He added that only 10 percent of the sodium in our diet comes from the shaker.

More than 75 percent are from processed foods, food services and restaurants.

To keep your sodium consumption under control, Kimball suggests consuming what the American Heart Association calls “the Salty Six”: breads and rolls, pizza, sandwiches, deli and cured meats, canned soups, and burritos and tacos.

In addition, you should make sure you’re reading labels and swapping products for low-sodium items.

In addition to a low-salt diet, another dietary change that can be done under a doctor’s supervision is to restrict fluid intake, said Dr. Ragvendra Baliga, a specialist in heart disease and heart failure at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. do, which will also reduce fluid buildup around your heart and lungs.

He recommends that patients consume about 2 liters of water (about 64 ounces) per day.

He further pointed to four specific types of drugs that are helpful for heart failure, which he called the “new four horsemen.”

These drugs include:

  • Angiotensin neprilysin inhibitor (ARNI) Entresto, which is a combination of two medicines that lower blood pressure, Sacubitril and Valsartan.
  • Sodium-glucose co-transporter inhibitors (SGLT2is) such as dapagliflozin and empagliflozin, which may help lower blood sugar and reduce hospitalization of heart failure patients with diabetes.
  • Beta-blockers such as carvedilol, metoprolol XL and bisoprolol, which slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure.
  • Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (MRAs) such as eplerenone and spironolactone which may reduce fluid buildup and blood pressure.

Your doctor may use these medicines as well as others to help your heart work more effectively or to reduce pressure on it.

Surgical procedures or the implantation of certain instruments may also be appropriate for some patients.