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Study Questions Strict Salt Limit after 70

Adults over 70 might not need to tightly restrict salt, a new study suggests. U.S. guidelines recommend no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium daily for most adults. That's the amount in a teaspoon of salt. But the American Heart Association says that adults over 50 should aim for less, about 1,500 a day. The average American consumes about 3,400 mg a day. The new study included 2,600 adults, ages 71 to 80. They all filled out diet questionnaires. Researchers kept track of them for the next 10 years. In that time, 881 died, 572 developed heart disease or had a stroke, and 398 developed heart failure. The death rate was lowest, 30.7%, for those who consumed 1,500 to 2.300 mg of salt a day. So people did just as well with a moderate amount of salt as with a stricter limit. With less than 1,500 mg of sodium, the death rate was 33.8%.

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