Health care providers have been cautioning patients for years about diets that are too high in sodium. Too much sodium has long been connected with the risk of high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for stroke. A new study has revealed another possible connection between salt and stroke that could be completely independent of blood pressure though.
The study, which was presented at the recent International Stroke Conference, suggests that even seemingly minor increases in sodium intake can work to increase the risk of stroke. More than 2600 participants filled out questionnaires regarding personal health information, including how much salt they consumed per day. Researchers factored in other risk factors for stroke, including sex, diet, race, exercise and tobacco and alcohol consumption.
After monitoring participants for a period of ten years, researchers concluded that an increase of just 500 milligrams of sodium per day raised the risk of stroke by nearly twenty percent. Though these findings are only considered preliminary, this study does open the door for future clinical studies to try and more accurately determine the connection between salt consumption and stroke risk.
Many health care providers are already monitoring the sodium intake of their patients, especially those with a history of hypertension or heart problems. If the findings in this study can be replicated in the future many doctors could begin to put even a greater percentage of patients on sodium restricted diets, regardless of the presence of stroke risk.