MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Stephen P. Juraschek, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Division of General Medicine, Section for Research
Boston, MA 02215
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Lightheadedness with standing is an important risk factor for falls. Sodium is often considered a treatment for lightheadedness with standing.
We examined this in the setting of a monitored feeding study where adults ate each of 3 different sodium levels for 4 weeks at a time. Participants took 5 day breaks between sodium levels and ate the sodium levels in random order. We tested the hypothesis that lowering sodium would worsen how much lightheadedness the study participants reported.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Lowering sodium in this study did not increase lightheadedness, and in half of the study participants (those eating a healthy diet) lowering sodium reduced lightheadedness.
This challenges guideline recommendations for sodium use as a treatment for lightheadedness.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Lightheadedness is caused by a number of different biological pathways. This study shows how sodium may affect lightheadedness by increasing blood pressure. More research is needed to understand the role of sodium in lightheadedness and other important symptoms like balance, dizziness, and ultimately falls.
Allison W. Peng, Lawrence J. Appel, Noel T. Mueller, Olive Tang, Edgar R. Miller, Stephen P. Juraschek. Effects of sodium intake on postural lightheadedness: Results from the DASH-sodium trial. The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/jch.13487
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