07 Mar More Medical Advice May Help Patients Reduce Salt Intake
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Jackson: With more than 90 percent of U.S. adults exceeding recommended sodium intake levels, healthcare providers can play a key role in counseling patients on the importance of limiting salt in the diet.
To assess the impact of medical advice on an individual’s efforts to reduce sodium intake, CDC researchers examined self-reported telephone survey information from nearly 174,000 U.S. adults. Overall, more than half of the respondents reported watching or reducing their sodium intake in 2013 – but less than one quarter (23 percent) said they received advice from a doctor or healthcare professional about sodium reduction. Of those that received the medical advice, 82 percent reported taking action to limit their sodium intake. In comparison, only 44 percent of respondents who reported not receiving medical advice said they took steps to reduce sodium.
The substantial proportion of patients who are not receiving medical advice (77%), according to these findings, reveals a missed opportunity to reduce sodium intake, particularly among groups that have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This includes African Americans, and those with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Jackson: This study is meaningful because it is one of the only ones to examine how sodium-related medical guidance relates to all patients, not just those with hypertension. With only one-quarter of respondents in this study reporting that they received medical advice about sodium, there is room for improvement.
Heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases kill nearly 800,000 Americans each year and cost more than $320 billion dollars a year in health care and lost productivity. CDC supports reducing sodium as an effective way to lower blood pressure and improve heart health and reduce risk for stroke nationwide. We encourage doctors to discuss the importance of limiting sodium with all patients to prevent and to help reduce blood pressure.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Jackson: Further research could identify optimal strategies for reducing sodium in the diet. Also, while this study examined health professional advice related to sodium intake, there are other avenues of public health messaging and education. Additional research could examine the effectiveness of sodium reduction messaging delivered through other channels.
Research presented at the American Heart Association EPI/Lifestyle 2015 meeting.
Medical advice to limit salt intake may help adults reduce sodium
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Sandra L. Jackson, Ph.D., M.P.H (2015). More Medical Advice May Help Patients Reduce Salt Intake