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Jul 23, 2014 06:43 AM EDT

High-Salt Diet Doubles Stroke Risk in Type-2 Diabetics, Study

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Type-2 diabetic patients, who adopt diets rich in salt content, face heightened risk of developing cardiovascular diseases than those who consume less sodium, according to a new study by the University of Niigata Prefecture in Japan.

"The study's findings provide clear scientific evidence supporting low-sodium diets to reduce the rate of heart disease among people with diabetes," said study's first author Chika Horikawa in a press release. "Although many guidelines recommend people with diabetes reduce their salt intake to lower the risk of complications, this study is among the first large longitudinal studies to demonstrate the benefits of a low-sodium diet in this population."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 29.1 million Americans suffer from diabetes. Diabetic patients are more likely to develop blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and stroke among others.

For the study, researchers surveyed 1,588 participants from the Japan Diabetes Complications Study about their diets including sodium intake. All the participants, aged between 40 and 70 years, were diagnosed with diabetes. The researchers also analysed data on cardiovascular complications participants experienced during a course of eight years.

The researchers found that participants, whose daily average consumption of sodium was 5.9 grams, had double the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases than those who consumed an average of 2.8 grams of sodium. The effects of a high-sodium diet were aggravated by poor blood sugar control.

"To reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, it is important for people who have Type 2 diabetes to improve their blood sugar control as well as watch their diet," Horikawa said. "Our findings demonstrate that restricting salt in the diet could help prevent dangerous complications from diabetes."

The finding is published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

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