ASA: Drinking Diet Soda May Up Vascular Event Risk

Another study finds high salt intake tied to substantially increased risk of ischemic stroke

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Drinking diet soda may increase the risk of vascular events as compared to not drinking soda at all, and high salt intake is associated with a dramatically increased risk of ischemic stroke, according to data presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2011, held from Feb. 9 to 11 in Los Angeles.

Hannah Gardener, Sc.D., of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and colleagues evaluated the association between soda consumption and risk of stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death among 2,564 individuals from the multi-ethnic Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS). The investigators found that individuals who drank diet soda on a daily basis had a 61 percent higher risk of vascular events as compared to those who did not drink soda. After adjusting for confounding factors, the increased risk persisted at a rate 48 percent higher among those who consumed diet soda. No significant increased risk of vascular events was found among those who drank regular soda only on a moderate or daily basis.

In another study, Gardener and colleagues evaluated the association between sodium intake and risk of ischemic stroke among 2,657 participants from NOMAS. The investigators found that, independent of hypertension, high salt intake was associated with a substantially increased risk of ischemic stroke. Compared to individuals who consumed less than 1,500 mg of sodium daily, those who consumed more than 4,000 mg per day had more than double the risk of ischemic stroke.

"The take-home message is that high sodium intake is a risk factor for ischemic stroke among people with hypertension as well as among those without hypertension, underscoring the importance of limiting consumption of high sodium foods for stroke prevention," Gardener said in a statement.

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