Lower salt intake might not be the best for heart failure patients according to a recently published study following 902 patients in the Heart Failure Adherence and Retention Trail (HART).
Conventionally, reducing salt intake is associated with a wide range of health benefits. Particularly for patients suffering from heart complications, the less salt they manage to include in their diet, the better. Among the health benefits to be reaped from a lower salt intake, medical specialists quote a reduced risk of stroke or hypertension due to reducing blood pressure.
However, according to the findings of a new study led by Doctor Rami Doukky of the Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, a lower salt intake might not be the best for heart failure patients. The benefits of a salt-poor diet might hold for other people confronting heart problems. Yet, for heart failure patients it might not be the case. The study, published in the Heart Failure Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that for the 902 patients tracked the chances of hospitalization or death were higher when a low salt diet was followed.
All 902 patients in the HART study were diagnosed with heart failure class II or heart failure class III. Doctor Doukky commented that while conventionally salt is deemed bad for one’s health, the results of the study indicate this might not be the case for heart failure patients, even those with moderate risk. Over the 36-month-period of the follow up, the 902 patients regularly completed a questionnaire evaluating their salt intake. The results did not indicate that heart failure patients should follow a lower salt intake practice.
Quite to the contrary, the follow-up showed that heart failure patients who did have a low salt diet had 85 percent higher chances to either be hospitalized or die due to heart failure. Patients suffering from the same condition who did not have a lower salt intake fared better.
Overall, during the study timeframe, 42 percent of the patients who followed a low salt diet either died or were hospitalized. Of the second group of heart failure patients, 26 percent ended up in medical care for heart failure or died.
“To our surprise, we found that patients who were sodium-restricted had worse outcomes than those who were taking sodium more liberally,”
Doctor Doukky added.
The findings of the study are only preliminary. Patients at risk of other heart problems like cardiovascular disease should continue to follow doctors’ guidelines.
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