Too much salt led to 2.3 million heart-related deaths worldwide last year
Washington: Excessive salt consumption contributed to 2.3 million deaths from heart attacks, strokes and other heart-related diseases throughout the world in 2010, researchers have claimed.
The fatality represents 15 percent of all deaths due to these causes.
The researchers analyzed 247 surveys of adult sodium intake, stratified by age, gender, region and country between 1990 and 2010 as part of the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study.
Next, they determined how the amount of sodium people were consuming was affecting their risk of cardiovascular disease, by performing a meta-analysis of 107 randomized, prospective trials that measured how sodium affects blood pressure, and a meta-analysis of how these differences in blood pressure relate to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared with consuming no more than 1,000 mg per day of sodium, which the researchers defined as an optimal amount of sodium for adults.
Cardiovascular disease includes all diseases of the heart and blood vessels, including stroke.
Nearly 1 million of these deaths - 40 percent of the total-were premature, occurring in people 69 years of age and younger. Sixty percent of the deaths occurred in men and 40 percent were in women.
Heart attacks caused 42 percent of the deaths and strokes 41 percent. The remainder resulted from other types of cardiovascular disease.
Eighty-four percent of these deaths due to eating too much sodium were in low and middle-income countries, rather than high-income countries.
"National and global public health measures, such as comprehensive sodium reduction programs, could potentially save millions of lives," Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., lead author of the study and co-director of the Program in Cardiovascular Epidemiology and associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Brigham and Women`s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, said.