Excessive Salt Intake Linked to 10% of All Deaths



A new study finds that 1 in 10 deaths in the United States are linked to excessive salt intake.


 

EXCESSIVE SALT INTAKE LINKED TO 10% OF ALL DEATHS

In the United States, and throughout much of the world, salt is liberally used as a seasoning for many types of food. Unfortunately, however, the salt content of most prepared foods (and fast foods and processed foods in particular) far exceeds the daily recommended allowance of 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day, or less than a teaspoon of salt per day, as recommended by the American Heart Association.

Excessive salt intake has been linked to a variety of serious health problems, including congestive heart failure, heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease. Additionally, as I discuss in detail in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, excessive salt intake also increases the risk of certain types of cancer as well.

At the ongoing annual meeting of the American Heart Association, in New Orleans, newly presented research data strongly suggests that at least 10 percent of all deaths in the United States, and as many as 15 percent of deaths worldwide, are related to excessive salt consumption. The data from this study was collected as part of the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study, which was performed by an international collaborative network of researchers from 303 institutions in 50 different countries. In addition to collecting salt intake data from participating research volunteers, the scientists conducting this public health research study also analyzed more than 100 previously published prospective randomized clinical research trials linking specific levels of salt intake with adverse health outcomes.

Based upon data collected in this important new public health study, the researchers calculated that excessive salt intake directly contributes to 1 out of every 10 deaths in the United States (and 1 out of every 7 deaths worldwide). According to the findings of this study, 60 percent of salt-associated deaths occur in men, and 40 percent occur in women; and heart attacks cause 42 percent of salt-associated deaths, while strokes cause 41 percent of salt-associated deaths.

Although humans appear to be biologically programmed to seek out salty foods, the unnaturally high salt content of most prepared and processed foods today means that we are ingesting far greater amounts of salt, on a daily basis, than our bodies require (or were designed to handle). As a consequence of this salty evolution of our “modern” diets, our bodies are at risk of becoming overloaded with salt, and the increased amount of fluid that this salt causes our bodies to retain. The end result, for a shocking percentage of people around the world, based upon the findings of this study, is an increased risk of congestive heart failure, heart attack, stroke and kidney disease, and a significantly increased risk of premature death due to these illnesses. Additionally, as I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, high salt intake has also been clearly linked to an increased risk of several deadly types of cancer in the gastrointestinal tract.

To help you to decrease excessive salt intake, I recommend the American Heart Association’s online guide on this topic.

 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!


Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

 

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Dark as Night, Part 1

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At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, more than 2.7 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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Metformin, Diabetes and Death

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update



“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”


METFORMIN, DIABETES AND DEATH

Metformin is a diabetes medication that is of great interest to me, and to other cancer specialists, because of intriguing research data suggesting that it may reduce the risk of cancer occurrence and cancer recurrence in people with diabetes.  (Diabetes is, itself, a risk factor for certain types of cancer, including one of the most lethal of all cancers, pancreatic cancer.)

Metformin has been shown to be particularly beneficial in reducing the risk of death due to the complications of diabetes in overweight and obese patients, who are especially prone to developing diabetes.  However, there has been some concern regarding the potential safety of metformin in patients with preexisting cardiovascular disease and kidney disease, and so this first-line diabetes medication has not been extensively prescribed to diabetic patients with these diseases.  (Somewhat ironically, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease are, themselves, known complications of diabetes.)  For this reason, the clinical research study that I will be discussing in today’s column is especially important to the estimated 24 million patients in the United States, alone, who have diabetes, and to the hundreds of thousands of diabetic patients who have already developed cardiovascular disease and kidney disease in the US. 

This newly published study, which appears in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, reports on the results of the massive Reduction of Atherothrombosis for Continued Health (REACH) Study, which included 19,691 patients with documented diabetes.  (The researchers involved in the REACH Study have been following this huge number of patient volunteers since they enlisted in the study between December 2003 and December 2004.) 

The findings of this very large prospective public health study validate the findings of smaller prior clinical studies.  In this study, diabetic patients with cardiovascular disease were significantly less likely to die during the course of this study if they took metformin instead of other diabetes medications (or no diabetes medication at all).  The patients in this study who took metformin were 24 percent less likely to die when compared to the diabetic patients who did not take metformin.  Among patients with congestive heart failure, which has until recently has been considered a contraindication to taking metformin, the use of metformin was associated with a 31 percent reduction in death due to all causes.  Moreover, patients with other health conditions that have previously thought to preclude diabetes treatment with metformin also appeared to benefit from metformin in this study.  Diabetic patients with cardiovascular disease who were older than 65 years were 23 percent less likely to die if they took metformin, while patients with decreased kidney function (estimated creatinine clearance of 30 to 60 ml/minute) experienced a whopping 36 percent decrease in the risk of death if they took metformin. 

As this was an observational study (i.e., there were no randomized groups of patients, and there was no placebo-control group), it should be urgently followed with a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical research study to confirm these highly important clinical findings.  Taken together, however, the findings of this pivotal public health study are certain to eventually expand the number of patients with diabetes who will be considered eligible to receive metformin! 

 

For a complete discussion of metformin as a potential cancer prevention agent, as well as other important evidence-based approaches to cancer prevention, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, now!  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

  

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GIVE  THE  GIFT  OF  HEALTH  THIS  HOLIDAY  SEASON!  For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores! 

On Thanksgiving Day, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com Top 100 Bestseller’s List for Kindle e-books!




Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity



Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an oncology consultant, and a widely published author



For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link: 

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I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (As of 9/16/2010, more than 1,000,000 health-conscious people have logged onto Weekly Health Update so far this year!)  As always, I enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 

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