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Salt and Diabetes Type 2: Is there a Link?

Salt and Diabetes Type 2

Salt and Diabetes Type 2: We know excessive use of sugar, lack of exercise, and obesity are linked with an increased incidence of Diabetes Type 2.

However, a recent study showed an increased incidence of Diabetes associated with high salt intake.

Salt is definitely bad for your heart and blood pressure. It also causes fluid build-up in your body and should be avoided in fluid-overloaded conditions such as:

  • Heart failure
  • Diabetic Nephropathy and Nephrotic syndrome
  • Kidney disease
  • Ascites due to liver disease or any medical condition
  • Pleural effusion due to any reason

Diabetics are at an increased risk of hypertension, kidney disease, and heart disease. Salt should be avoided in such diabetic patients.

Whether people with a high salt intake are at an increased risk of developing diabetes is not very clear.

salt and diabetes type 2

Salt Intake and Diabetes Type 2: Key Points of the Study:

  1. The study establishes a direct link between adding salt to foods and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
  2. Findings reveal that the T2DM risk rises proportionally as the frequency of salt addition increases.
  3. There are potential mediators behind the positive association that is partially influenced by factors such as body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio, and C-reactive protein.
  4. The study introduces a new angle by using how often people add salt as a stand-in for their long-term sodium intake.
  5. It sheds light on how our taste for salt may play a role in developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), underlining the importance of dietary choices in influencing disease risk.

Salt and Diabetes Type 2:

T2DM is a metabolic disorder marked by insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion.

Globally, its prevalence has reached epidemic proportions, and this surge is linked to sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy diets, and increasing obesity rates.

Global diabetes cases are to glide from 529 million to 1.3 billion by 2050 [Ref].

It significantly impacts individuals’ health and well-being. The condition can lead to a range of complications, including cardiovascular diseases, neuropathy, nephropathy, and retinopathy.

Therefore, scientists have been looking for multiple risk factors associated with T2DM, as this is the biggest global concern.

So far, T2DM is associated with an elevated risk of premature mortality [Ref]. The economic burden is substantial, encompassing healthcare costs and productivity losses due to disability.

A recent publication from the Mayo Clinic Proceedings found an obvious link between dietary intake of sodium and the incidence of type-2 diabetes mellitus [ref].

The frequency of salt addition to the diet significantly influences health outcomes in several ways.

Excessive salt intake is linked to hypertension, and regularly adding salt to foods may contribute to fluid retention and increased blood pressure.

Salt and Diabetes Type 2: Study Findings and Analysis

This study investigated how adding salt to foods, as a measure of long-term sodium intake, relates to the risk of developing type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in 402,982 participants from the UK Biobank. Over an average follow-up of 11.9 years, 13,120 cases of T2DM were documented.

The findings show a clear trend:

compared to those who added salt “never/rarely,” participants adding salt “sometimes,” “usually,” and “always” had increasing risks of T2DM.

The hazard ratios were 1.11, 1.18, and 1.28, respectively, indicating a significant association.

The study also explored why this connection exists. It turns out that factors like body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, and C-reactive protein play a role, with body fat mass being a major contributor.

Essentially, the more frequently people added salt to their food, reflecting a long-term preference for salt, the higher their risk of developing T2DM.

Consequently, this research sheds light on a straightforward connection between salt habits and diabetes risk, emphasizing the importance of considering dietary choices in long-term health outcomes.

Shortcomings of the current study:

The researchers recognize limitations in their study, not completely dismissing the possibility that frequently adding salt to foods might be a sign of an unhealthy lifestyle.

The self-reported data on salt addition could be prone to information bias and lack specific details on total sodium intake.

Moreover, the participant group was predominantly of European descent, raising uncertainty about applying the findings to other ethnic groups.

Furthermore, data on salt addition was only gathered at the start, neglecting possible shifts in salt intake throughout the study.

These factors emphasize the importance of interpreting the results cautiously, taking into account lifestyle aspects, reporting accuracy, ethnic differences, and potential alterations in salt habits over time that may impact the observed connection.

salt and diabetes type 2 risk

The Link Between Hypertension, Salt, and Diabetes Type 2:

Hypertension and diabetes often go hand in hand, creating a connection that impacts overall health.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, occurs when the pressure of blood against artery walls is consistently too high.

Diabetes, on the other hand, is a condition where the body struggles to regulate blood sugar levels. The connection between the two is complex.

A person with diabetes faces double the risk for hypertension than a person without diabetes [Ref].

Having diabetes increases the risk of developing hypertension because high blood glucose levels can harm blood vessels and the heart over time [Ref].

Simultaneously, hypertension can worsen diabetes by affecting blood vessel function and insulin resistance [Ref]. This creates a harmful cycle where one condition can exacerbate the other.

Medications may also be prescribed to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Regular check-ups and monitoring are vital to detect and address potential complications early on.

Understanding and addressing the connection between hypertension and diabetes are crucial for effectively handling both conditions and promoting overall well-being.

It is essential to manage one condition effectively to control the other. Adopting a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, including a good diet, and weight management, is crucial for preventing and managing both hypertension and diabetes.

What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

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