The Heart Foundation is renewing its call for Australians to watch their salt intake with research presented at the European Congress of Cardiology in Barcelona this week revealing a link between high salt intake and heart failure.
The Finnish study, which followed over 4,000 adults for 12 years, found that consuming more than 13.7 grams of salt daily doubled the risk of heart failure compared to consuming less than 6.8 grams per day. Australian research shows that most Australians consume around 9 grams of salt per day.
In the Finnish study, the Australian average of 9 grams was still associated with a 40 per cent increased risk of heart failure, when compared to the risk for people consuming less than 6.8 grams of salt daily.
CEO National of the Heart Foundation, Adjunct Professor John Kelly, said that while eating too much salt was already linked to high blood pressure, a leading risk factor for heart disease, a link with heart failure was yet another good reason to ditch the salt.
“This study showed a salt-related increase in heart failure risk that was independent of blood pressure, which is concerning.
“Heart failure is one of the major cardiovascular diseases and is responsible for the deaths of more than 3000 Australians each year, and contributes to a further 18,000 deaths. It’s also on the increase, with 29 per cent more deaths due to heart failure since 2006.
“While the process by which salt affects the development of heart failure is still unclear, this study supports the need for everyone to be aware of how much salt they are consuming.”
The Heart Foundation recommends that all Australians should eat less than 6 grams of salt a day, which is about 1 teaspoon. Those with high blood pressure and those at risk of heart disease should eat less than 4 grams of salt per day.
“Although this study does not prove that high salt intake causes heart failure – only that the two are linked – it does underline the importance of reducing salt intake for better heart health,” said Professor Kelly.
The study authors concluded that further research was needed in larger populations in order to make more detailed estimates of the increased heart failure risk associated with consuming salt. The Heart Foundation recently launched a digital campaign with the Victorian Salt Reduction Partnership called Unpack the Salt.
For interviews, please contact Tina Wall, Senior National Media Adviser, Heart Foundation, 0427 591 638.