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Too Much Salt Linked to More Than 2 Million Deaths Worldwide Annually

Mar 22nd, 2013

Too Much SaltNearly 2.3 million deaths from heart attacks, strokes, and other heart-related causes that occurred in 2010 may be linked to over-consumption of salt, a new study said.

That number represents 15 percent of all heart-related deaths that year and sixty percent of those deaths were in men, the researchers said..

Researchers considered nearly 1 million or 40 percent of those deaths to be premature, occurring in people aged 69 and younger.

The study was presented at a conference sponsored by the American Heart Association (AHA) in New Orleans. The data and conclusions should be considered preliminary pending publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

The United States ranked 19th out of the 30 largest countries with 429 deaths per one million adults caused by excessive salt consumption. That’s about one in 10 of all heart-related deaths in the country.

Heart attacks caused 42 percent of the deaths worldwide, strokes caused 41 percent, and the rest were caused by other types of cardiovascular diseases. Almost 84 percent of the deaths were in low- and middle-income countries.

Among the 30 largest countries, Ukraine (2,109), Russia (1,803), and Egypt (863) had the highest death rates per million adults associated with too much salt consumption. While Qatar (73), Kenya (78), and United Arab Emirates (134) had the lowest deaths related to salt consumption per million adults.

“National and global public health measures, such as comprehensive sodium reduction programs, could potentially save millions of lives,” said Dr. Dariush Mozafarrian, lead author and professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Harvard Medical School.

Although the study found a link between high salt intake and higher risk of death, it failed to establish a cause-and-effect relationship.

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