Dr. Steven Reisman, Director of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center, at an invited lecture at the F.B.I. in Manhattan on June 30, 2010, discussed the relationship of salt intake and the development of high blood pressure or hypertension. Dr. Reisman referenced an article in the USA Today from April 28, 2010 entitled “Keeping A Lid On Salt; Not So Easy”. A recent report from the Institute of Medicine emphasized the relationship of salt intake to the development of heart disease and stroke. Hypertension is a common disease in the United States and this elevation of blood pressure can be easily diagnosed by a health professional taking several readings of an individual’s blood pressure in the resting state. Since hypertension is without symptoms, early diagnosis before the development of stroke or heart attack is extremely important.
According to the article, Americans now consume an average of 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day. The U.S Department of Agriculture guidelines recommend that adults including those with high blood pressure and individuals at risk should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams a day and other adults should consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. The problem that occurs is many prepared foods or meals in restaurants especially fast foods have a high level of sodium.
The emphasis is to decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke by decreasing sodium intake along with weight control and physical activity. The article in USA Today gives examples of how many milligrams of salt are in different entrees at popular chain restaurants and also ways of decreasing the amount of salt intake. One of the hidden ways that Americans have an increased salt intake is in processed foods such as canned foods, soups, and other foods with additives. Tips for lowering sodium may include limiting salty snacks, add fresh lemon instead of salt to fish and vegetables, and learn how to use spices and herbs to enhance the taste of food instead of salt.
Dr. Reisman also spoke at the lecture about the other important risk factors for heart disease including hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia including elevated cholesterol and elevated triglycerides, obesity, family history of heart disease, and smoking. The New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center, according to Dr. Reisman, can combine a consultation with both a cardiologist and a nutritionist to guide those who have an interest in a tasty diet with a low salt intake.