A newly published study is illustrating the role that a high-salt diet can play in one's heart attack risk and overall medical costs.
The study, which is featured in the New England Journal of Medicine, says that if people were to reduce their average daily salt intake by just 3 grams per day, it would reduce instances of coronary heart disease by up to 120,000 cases per year, while also preventing as many as 66,000 strokes and up to 92,000 deaths from assorted causes.
Researchers compared salt reduction with the health benefits that can be achieved from other efforts, such as losing weight, cutting cholesterol and quitting smoking. Reducing salt intake is also said to be far more cost-effective than using medications to treat high blood pressure.
The information is particularly important given the amount of salt that the average American tends to consume in their diet, especially when it comes to prepackaged foods and restaurant meals.
From a health insurance perspective, cutting the risk of heart disease can lead to substantial reductions in the future premium costs that those in the private insurance market will have to pay. This is because heart disease is one of several pre-existing conditions that can result in dramatically higher costs for consumers.