Salt consumption may increase lightheadedness
Higher sodium intake was associated with more frequent and severe lightheadedness in patients who followed the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet vs. those who followed a typical Western style diet, according to findings recently published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension.
“Treatments targeting postural lightheadedness include higher sodium intake with a goal of augmenting BP. However, contrary to these recommendations, some observational studies suggest that higher sodium intake may worsen orthostatic hypotension. In fact, there is limited evidence from clinical trials of the effects of higher sodium intake on postural lightheadedness,” Allison W. Peng, BS, of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and colleagues wrote.
Researchers conducted a secondary analysis of 412 participants of the DASH-Sodium trial who were not on hypertension medication and had an average systolic BP between 120 mm Hg and 159 mm Hg and diastolic BP between 80 mm Hg and 95 mm Hg. Of that total, 208 participants (mean age, 47.4 years) followed the DASH diet. The others consumed a typical Western style diet (mean age, 49.1 years) that had more red meat and sugar items than DASH.
Peng and colleagues found that among those following the DASH diet, high sodium increased lightheadedness (OR = 1.71; 95% CI, 1.01-2.9) and severity of lightheadedness (P = .02), compared with low sodium. Among those who followed the typical Western style diet, high sodium intake had no impact on lightheadedness (OR = 0.77; 95% CI, 0.46–1.29).
In addition, adults 60 years of age and younger whose high vs. low sodium consumption was part of the DASH diet experienced more lightheadedness than those 60 years of age and older (P-interaction = .04). Younger patients with obesity were also more likely to have lightheadedness than those who did not have obesity (P-interaction = .01).
“Greater sodium intake is widely viewed as an intervention for postural symptoms, like lightheadedness. In contrast, our analysis showed that higher sodium intake in the context of the DASH diet actually increased lightheadedness and had a variable effect in subgroups based on age or BMI. Hence, our results serve to caution health practitioners against recommending increased sodium intake as a universal treatment for lightheadedness,” Peng and colleagues wrote.
“Additionally, our results demonstrate an important need for research to understand the role of sodium, and more broadly of diet, on lightheadedness.” – by Janel Miller
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.