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Most people With Heart Disease Consume Too Much Salt

Reducing sodium intake is vital for treating heart disease, yet a recent study finds most heart patients struggle to limit their salt consumption. On average, individuals with heart disease consume over twice the recommended daily salt amount, researchers report.

While sodium is essential, excessive intake can raise blood pressure, damaging blood vessels and straining the heart. High salt intake also leads to fluid retention and worsening conditions like heart failure.

Guidelines suggest heart disease patients limit sodium to 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day, with healthy individuals advised to stay under 2,300 mg/day. However, a survey of over 3,100 heart patients showed that 89% exceeded the recommended maximum, averaging 3,096 mg/day—slightly below the national average of 3,400 mg/day.

Analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2009-2018), researchers found no significant differences in salt intake based on income, gender, race, or education. Presenting at the American College of Cardiology meeting, they emphasized the importance of preparing home-cooked meals and reading food labels to limit sodium intake, which could reduce hospitalizations and healthcare costs associated with cardiovascular disease, according to the World Health Organization.