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Iowa Doctor Sees Flaws in New Study on Sodium and Health

PHOTO: A new study that discounts the health implications of eating too much salt is leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of many in the medical world. Photo credit: Dubravko Soric/Flickr.
PHOTO: A new study that discounts the health implications of eating too much salt is leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of many in the medical world. Photo credit: Dubravko Soric/Flickr.
January 26, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa – Concerns are being raised by a number of health organizations and physicians over new research that downplays the link between high sodium consumption and health problems.

The study found no association between salt intake and risk of heart failure or mortality among the elderly over a 10-year span.

But Dr. Kathleen Gannon with the Iowa Clinic notes that the study is problematic for a number of reasons, including a limited number of participants.

"Rather than look at one study any time, we should look at the greater body of evidence, which has clearly demonstrated a strong relationship between increased sodium and elevated blood pressure," she stresses.

Gannon points out uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to more serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.

Following recommendations on daily salt intake is just one piece of the puzzle in keeping blood pressure at normal levels.

Gannon says quitting smoking also reduces the risk of hypertension, as do a healthy diet and exercise.

"So we really need to look at obesity and also look at exercise, too,” she states. “And I prefer to use the term lifestyle modification.

“That's a little bit more palatable than (saying), 'You need to increase your physical activity' or 'You need to exercise.'"

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one in three adults has high blood pressure, which is a primary or contributing cause in 1,000 deaths in the United States each day.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA