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physician, Dr. Sam Onuh, has advised Muslims who wish to fast during the Ramadan to consume enough water few days to its commencement and throughout the period.

Onuh, who works at the Omu-Aran General Hospital in Kwara State, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday that consuming enough water would reduce the possibility of dehydration in the course of the fast.

NAN reports that Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Holy Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad.

The 2017 Ramadan is expected to start on Saturday, May 27, and last for 29 or 30 days.

Onuh noted that people who fast commonly experience dehydration largely because they are denying the body the required fluid.

For people who are used to having breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in-between, the fasting period can be a major challenge.

It is recommended that they consume plenty of water prior to fasting.

Fasting can increase the stress level and disrupt sleep; dehydration, hunger or lack of sleep during fasting can also lead to headache. It can also cause heartburn.

Lack of food leads to a reduction in stomach acid which digests food and destroys bacteria. But, smelling food or even thinking about it during fasting can trigger the brain into telling the stomach to produce more acid, thereby leading to heartburn,” he said.

He added that prolonged fasting could be beneficial because it could also be effective for the regeneration of the immune cells.

This can also serve as a protection against cell damage caused by aging and chemotherapy.

The good news is that the body, during fasting, gets rid of the parts of the system that may be damaged, old or is inefficient.

Now, if you start with a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or aging, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system.

Studies of intermittent fasting show that there are improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and also in insulin sensitivity,’’ he said.

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At least 500 Nigerians die of HIV/AIDs daily, with an average new infection of 600 people every day, says Sani Aliyu, Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDs, NACA.

Mr. Aliyu gave the figure during an interview with the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, about HIV/AIDs, aired on Saturday night.

He said although the country has achieved great heights with the support of government and the international community, a lot of help is still needed from private individuals to address the challenges posed by the existence of HIV/AIDs in Nigeria.

Mr. Aliyu noted that Nigeria is still the second most affected country with HIV/AIDs, globally behind South Africa. He called on government and stakeholders to ensure increased education of the girl child and women empowerment as a means of addressing the challenge.

He added that the global theme for this year's event to mark the World AIDs day, "Hands up for HIV/AIDs prevention," was adjusted for Nigeria, to match with the country's current prevalence rate of 3 per cent.

"You know that for Nigeria the topic for this year is not 'hands up'; when you say hands up you are giving up. It's 'hands on' for us in Nigeria," said Mr. Aliyu.

About 72,000 adolescents are reportedly living with HIV in Lagos State, officials have said.

Also according to the Borno State's coordinator for HIV/AIDs, no fewer than 5,000 Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in 27 camps in the state are currently living with the virus.

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Dr Okezie Emenike, an Abuja-based medical doctor, on Monday, said that people with Bulimia Nervosa are at risk of life threatening illnesses.

Emenike disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.

He defined Bulimia Nervosa as a psychological disorder characterised by overeating spree in a short period of time, followed by purging in an attempt to get rid of the food consumed by vomiting or taking laxatives.

He said the condition was associated with a sense of loss of control and immediately followed by feelings of guilt and shame.

According to him, bulimia affects more women than men and is common in teenage girls and young women.

He noted that the cause of bulimia was unknown but attributed genetics, physiological, family, society and culture as factors that could pose risk of developing the condition.

He added that bulimia could be dangerous as it could lead to serious health problems, stressing that a person with the condition often indulge in self induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, among others.

He said that “due to excessive vomiting, there can be a permanent damage in the stomach, tears in the oesophagus, swelling of the throat and dental cavities.

“It can also lead to lack of fluid in the body, low level of potassium in the blood, hard stools and constipation, damage of the pancreas and haemorrhoid.’’

He further said that the condition could make a patient go into extreme social isolation, forced withdrawal from school, withdrawal from family, loss of job and infertility.

Emenike also said that bulimia could lead to internal bleeding, drug and alcohol addiction, heart attack, inability to sleep, self injury behaviour and even suicide.

Besides, Emenike said, treatment for such eating disorder should start from psychological therapy, interpersonal therapy and administration of medications such as antidepressants.

He urged people with such eating disorder to seek medical help, noting that the condition could result to irreversible complications.

NAN

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Mavis Tabi-Boateng, a midwife at a health centre in Watreso, Ghana, often sees patients who travel long distances for antenatal care visits. During these visits she checks to see if the mother and baby are healthy.

Mavis remembers caring for Ama Mensah (not real name), a pregnant 24-year-old farmer, who had travelled 4 km for a final antenatal care visit before the birth of her child. She noticed the mother’s mental state was poor so she referred her to a district hospital for care, since mental health services were not available at her clinic.

Later, Mavis heard the woman had died after childbirth. She had given birth to her baby on a farm with no medical support. Giving birth outside of health facilities with no assistance from a trained health provider is a contributing factor behind maternal deaths in the country.

“This was an unnecessary loss of life,” says Dr Joseph Mensah-Homiah, technical officer at the Millennium Villages Project, an initiative dedicated to transforming the way health providers document patient data in Ghana.

“Strengthening care in health facilities is essential,” he adds. “But, we first need to understand why women are dying in order to prevent future deaths.”

Collecting data in real-time saves lives

In 2015, an estimated 2,800 women in Ghana died during childbirth. However, this is not the complete picture because deaths that take place outside of health facilities, especially in rural areas, are sometimes not recorded.

In partnership with the Ghanaian Ministry of Health, the Millennium Villages Project is working to improve and speed-up data collection, which is a key component of WHO’s work to help countries implement Maternal Death Surveillance and Response. MDSR is a continuous cycle of identification, notification and review of deaths among pregnant women and those who recently gave birth, followed by actions and monitoring of the response to prevent future deaths.

In 2008, the Millennium Villages Project initiated a vital records registration system to register all births and deaths and causes of death, but quickly realised the paper-based system was difficult and time-consuming for health workers to analyse.

The project then introduced CommCare, a smartphone-based system to help health workers record real-time information during home visits. A specialist in verbal autopsies also assists community health workers to conduct and record in-depth investigations into the cause of each death. The data are then put into an electronic database accessible on mobile phones and are reviewed once a week by a local medical team.

“Mobile technologies have allowed community health workers to keep records of mothers and their children even in rural areas where there are no health facilities,” says Dr Mensah-Homiah.

WHO is working with the Ministry of Health to scale-up and implement all aspects of MDSR in the country. While Ghana has improved data collection, there is still a need for national death review committees and an annual report on the findings of the death reviews so action can be taken to prevent future deaths.

Ending preventable maternal mortality worldwide

WHO and partners have been working with countries, like Ghana, to map progress in implementing MDSR in order to reduce global maternal mortality to less than 70 deaths per 100 000 live births by 2030, as called for in the Sustainable Development Goals and WHO’s “Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health”.

The current global maternal mortality ratio is 216 deaths per 100 000 live births.

Building on the existing programmes for maternal death reviews, the MDSR system is helping countries count and record all maternal deaths in communities and health facilities within 24 to 48 hours. The improved data collection and maternal death audits then enable countries to properly evaluate the impact of their health programmes aimed at reducing maternal mortality and improving maternal health.

Source: The World Health Organisation

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The Managing Director of The Bridge Clinic, Lagos, Dr. Richardson Ajayi, has called on foreign investors to choose Nigeria as their destination for health investments.

Ajayi made this call at the 4th Annual Africa Hospital Expansion Summit in Accra, Ghana.

The IVF specialist in his address noted that Nigeria’s health care sector had shown significant growth over the last five years and will continue to grow despite the current economic challenges.

He identified the increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases, reduction in out-bound medical tourism due to the difficulties with obtaining foreign exchange and the increasing access to health insurance as key drivers for investing in Nigeria.

Ajayi, however , stated that short-term investment model may not work as much in Nigeria as the country’s health sector lacks the requisite systems to support  it.

Ajayi, said, “Investors expect a return for their investments and most prefer the return sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, healthcare in our region is not mature enough for this type of investment strategy. Healthcare in our region is still in a nascent stage and the systems such as supporting government policies as well as the required organised ecosystem are not yet in place to create the platform for growth.”

He, therefore called for a different approach that would ensure that investments make the required developmental impact while, at the same time, delivering adequate financial returns.

Ajayi stated, “Health care investments have to be considered from a developmental and long-term perspective. Investments with a focus on immediate earnings such as earnings before interests, tax, depreciation and amortization may institute a profit-driven culture which runs in the face of providing care and the right balance must be struck.

“A more favourable structure will be for investors to look into making equity investments with a focus on long-term growth rather than a quick exit.”

He listed preferences for the sole proprietor model; patients dwindling disposable income, poor customer service orientation, and inadequate skill sets among health workers as some of the challenges that could hinder investments in the sector.

PUNCH.

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The World Mental Health Day, celebrated on October 10 every year, is an event that seeks to raise awareness of mental health issues across the globe and to mobilise efforts in support of mental health. This is crucial because mental health problems are important issues worldwide due to their impact on the fundamental human rights and the quality of life of those affected and their families.

The theme for this year’s event is ‘Psychological First-Aid: First Line Psychological Support’. It was developed in a collaborative effort between the World Health Organisation and NGOs endorsed by 24 United Nations and other international agencies.

According to a WHO document, the term PFA was first coined in the 1940s, but its use has increased in modern day crisis event. Just like everyone grew up with the idea of the first aid for persons with injuries or in cases of emergencies, PFA is the first-line psychosocial support for people affected by crisis events. It is now a crucial aspect of psychiatry as more people are bedeviled by different kinds of disasters and crisis.

Let’s not forget that Nigeria and its people have had their unfair share of crisis due to the Boko Haram insurgency and activities of other militants, disease outbreaks, armed robbery, train/ car accident, rape and other forms of   physical assault.

This crisis events could be large scale or individualistic. No doubt, these events usually have physical, social and emotional consequences on their victims, especially when they are not detected and addressed early.

Mental health practitioners are very few in this part of the world and they cannot meet up with the number of patients who develop sudden psychological problems.

For every 100,000 Nigerians, there is only one psychiatrist. The same goes for the ratio of psychiatric nurses and psychologists that are needed, considering the enormous mental health burden on the country.

This psychological first-aid is very beneficial and crucial because victims do better over the long term if they feel safe, connected to others, calm and hopeful.

So the concept of psychological first-aid is most relevant for a country like Nigeria, where there are factors that tip individuals into crisis for which they need support each day.

PFA is not what professionals can do; it is not a clinical or psychiatric intervention (although it can be a part of good clinical care). It is not asking people to analyse what happened nor putting pressure on other people to tell their stories or asking details about how they feel and what happened.

PFA is essentially a humane, supportive and practical assistance to fellow human beings who recently suffered a serious mishap. This support should be practical and supportive in a way that assesses needs and concerns. It must help people access basic needs, such as food and water.

A crucial part of it is listening, but not pressing people to talk as it helps them connect to information, services and social support that exist in that particular community.

Usually folks that are involved in PFA are often relatives, neighbours, teachers, community members, religious group members and first responders of various kinds, such as emergency medical teams, police and fire fighters and vigilante groups.

This support can be given anywhere that is safe for the helper and the affected person, ideally with some privacy as appropriate to the situation.

As fantastic as this initiative can be for victims of sudden crisis, volunteers are encouraged to know their limits and give prompt referral to relevant professionals like psychiatrists and psychologists. The culture, safety, dignity and the right of the victim must not be violated in the guise of offering support.

This is where the peculiarity of the African situation comes in, where certain individuals in the family or community can actually take over support without the consent and respect of the victims.

This year’s theme is innovative and everyone is recruited as a stakeholder. This approach has been adopted by many humanitarian agencies and, according to the WHO, the PFA guide and facilitation manual has been made available in about 20 translations in a way that provides learning activities relevant to different cultures and countries around the world.

Our state governments can organise such training for officers that deal with crisis intervention and corporate organisations, too. Clubs and other philanthropic organisations can also buy into this initiative by providing this training and empowerment to help victims of sudden and devastating mishaps get support.

PUNCH.

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Dakar — "Civilians are not receiving aid, and find themselves trapped between Boko Haram and the military's operations"

Living conditions for people uprooted by Boko Haram violence and seeking refuge in camps and towns across northeast Nigeria are more deadly than the conflict between the Islamist militants and the army, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Wednesday.

Hunger and malnutrition is widespread among the displaced in Borno State, not just in remote, previously inaccessible areas, but also in the capital Maiduguri, the medical aid group said.

Coordination of relief efforts must be drastically improved and food aid urgently delivered to people in need across Borno, where the humanitarian situation is reaching "catastrophic levels", said MSF emergency programme manager Natalie Roberts.

"It is shocking to see so many people malnourished in Maiduguri, not just in isolated and hard-to-reach areas," Roberts told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

"Aid actors have access, and there has been no Boko Haram presence for the last few years, but people are starving to death inside Maiduguri. Millions are in a nutrition crisis."

MSF said it had recently gained access to Ngala and Gambaru, towns previously cut off from aid, where tens of thousands of people have little or nothing to eat and at least one in 10 children are suffering from life-threatening malnutrition.

Yet the medical charity said it was most concerned about the situation in Maiduguri, where malnutrition rates in some parts of the city are as high as those seen in conflict-hit areas.

Boko Haram violence has left more than 65,000 people living in famine in the northeast, with one million others at risk, and more than half of children under five are malnourished in some areas of Borno, several aid groups said last week.

Many women in aid camps in the northeast are resorting to selling sex in exchange for food and money with which to feed their families, medical charity International Medical Corps and Nigerian research group NOI Polls said this week.

Roberts said the aid response across Borno was insufficient and uncoordinated, leaving many people without any assistance.

"Civilians are not receiving aid, and find themselves trapped between Boko Haram and the military's operations."

The Islamist militant group has killed about 15,000 people and displaced more than 2 million in Nigeria in a seven-year insurgency aimed at creating a state adhering to Islamic laws.

A military offensive has driven Boko Haram from much of the territory it held in northern Nigeria, but the militants have continued to carry out suicide bombings and raids in northeast Nigeria and neighbouring Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

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Malaria in pregnancy should be considered a medical emergency as it does more harm to the fetus than envisaged, the Head, Case Management Branch, National Malaria Elimination Programme, Dr. Godson Ntadom has said.

He noted that while malaria parasites in non pregnant persons feed on nutrients from the red blood cell of its host, that of pregnant women prefers to stay in the placenta where it feeds on the nutrients meant to supply the fetus because of its richness, thereby starving the fetus to death.

Speaking during the NMEP, Health Communication Capacity Collaboration and Health Editors interactive section in Lagos recently, he said, "during the period the parasites are feeding on the nutrients coming into the placenta meant for the fetus, the woman will not feel the signs of malaria because technically the placenta is not part of her body. It is when the parasites are full and satisfied that they now move into the woman's blood stream, and at which point, she will start noticing malaria symptoms."

Ntadom said it was a medical emergency because the point the woman starts noticing malaria signs means the parasites have starved the fetus of its needed developmental nutrients and are satisfied with the placenta.

"By this time they will then move to the woman's blood where she will start filling the symptoms of the disease. There is a high possibility that at this point the damage may have been done to the fetus. That is why it is a medical emergency to see if the situation can be remedied," he added.

He said contrary to popular belief that anti-malaria drugs were not good for treating malaria in pregnancy, the medical expert said it was the parasites that kill the fetus and not the drugs.

"Often times, pregnant women start treating malaria when they start noticing malaria signs, but what most people don't know is that before a pregnant woman start noticing the symptoms, the parasites must have done damage to the fetus through feeding on the placenta. It is when the parasite is done with the placenta (probably damaged the fetus) that the woman can start noticing signs," Ntadom said.

Meanwhile, Ntadom has reiterated Federal Government's earlier decision to ban the use of Chloroquine and mono-therapy drugs for the treatment of malaria in Nigeria.

He said the emphasis on the ban on Chloroquine and mono-therapy drugs were necessary as some persons still sell them to unsuspecting patients.

"Apart from mono-therapy injections which are used for treatment of severe malaria, its drugs and Chloroquine have long been banned by government. It is a criminal offense for any health personnel to sell them to patients," he added.

In the same vein, he said Nigerians do not need medicines for the prevention of malaria, adding that only pregnant women and foreigners should be given such recommendations.

"The one presently recommended now is Malarone which is a combination of two medicines and it is for foreigners who probably would be staying in the country for a short time.

He said the citizens were free to visit NMEP website www.ncmp.gov.ng for informations on malaria in Nigeria.

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10 lifestyle changes that will boost your health

While many of us set long-term goals in regards to our health and fitness, there are many things you can do right now to boost your health each day. To improve your wellbeing and start feeling better, check out these 10 healthy changes to make to your day.

Plan to be healthy

Like most things worth having, a healthy lifestyle sadly won’t fall into your lap without any effort. To make healthy lifestyle choices a regular part of your day it is important to make a plan and schedule them in, at least until they become second nature. Rather than making vague plans to “eat more healthily” or “do some exercise”, make a menu for the day ahead detailing exactly what you will eat, or schedule in a date for exercise, establishing an exact time, activity and location. Whatever your health intentions, set your purpose for the day ahead and factor in some time to make it happen.

e5d6a0fb7fe4ef48211a103b398067a594bd 10 ways to make your day healthier

Ditch your alarm clock

Few of us would class the alarm clock as our favourite household appliance. However, if you find yourself waking up feeling sluggish and miserable and repeatedly pressing snooze, it may be worth investing in a gentler wake-up call. Ideally, our bodies our wired to wake up to natural light; however it is not always possible to do so. Instead, try purchasing a wake-up light which will wake you up gently as it gradually brightens, helping to regulate sleeping patterns and boost your mood and energy levels for the rest of the day.

Don’t overdo your morning workout

While a daily workout is great for your health, research suggests that it may be best to leave your exercise session until later in the day. A study by a researcher from Brunel University, Middlesex, found that heavy training sessions early in the morning compromise the immune system and put athletes at increased risk of infection from bacteria and viruses. While a morning jog or gentle exercise session is unlikely to put you at great risk, try to save heavier workouts for later in the day.

Start your day on a positive note

Many of us start the day with a morning newspaper or by listening to the news. However, while it’s good to stay informed of what is happening in the world, it can also start the day off on a negative note. If you find yourself struggling to get in a positive frame of mind, try following your morning news update with some motivational reading, an inspirational quote or an email from a friend. Not only will starting your day with a more positive outlook help to boost your mood and productivity, but studies have shown that positive people are less likely to die of heart disease or stroke.

Don’t eat at your desk

Having a busy day? Try not to give in to the temptation to skip your lunch break and eat at your desk. Refusing to take a break is not only bad for your mental health, but eating while distracted may mean you are more likely to overeat. On top of this, spending your lunch hour at your desk can compromise your health by lengthening the time you are physically inactive and exposing you to bacteria. According to a study by the University of Arizona, your work station contains nearly 400 times more germs than the average toilet seat, making it a less than ideal place for dining.

Get more active, more often

According to a number of research studies, sitting for long periods of time puts you at risk of dangerous illnesses such as heart disease – regardless of whether you are otherwise physically active. To safeguard your health while in the office, make an effort to move more often throughout the day in any way you can. Set up an alert or write a post-it note reminding you to get up and stretch, take more trips to the water cooler, or organise your workspace so that things are out of reach. Even the smallest activities done regularly can make a difference to your health.

8117abbb12a8884c303ae406cace6262ec82 10 ways to make your day healthier

Listen to music

Whether you’re travelling to work, sat at your desk or having a workout, listening to your favourite music could do wonders for your health. Not only can playing music help you relax and boost your mood, research has also shown that listening to music you enjoy can promote good heart health, help manage pain and boost the immune system too. Furthermore, research by Brunel University found that listening to music while working out can boost exercise endurance by as much as 15 per cent.

Watch some comedy

While in an ideal world we would all opt to shun the TV in favour of going for a run or doing something productive, if you simply can’t resist the lure of an evening in front of the box, you can still look after your health by being selective about what you watch.  According to research by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, comedies are the way to go, with research findings suggesting that watching a funny movie or show is beneficial for your heart, while watching horror or war movies can cause mental stress.

Stop mindless snacking

Many people find themselves snacking during the day or evening out of boredom or habit. However, not only is this an easy way to pile on the pounds, but often we may not even enjoy what we’re eating. According to researchers from the University of Southern California, once people have established an eating habit they will continue eating that food whether or not it tastes good and regardless of whether they are hungry. To help stay trim, try being more aware of your eating habits and ask yourself why you are eating; whether it’s through hunger, boredom or simply out of habit.

Keep a diary

If you can’t remember the last time you poured out your heart into the pages of a diary, it may be time to get back into the habit. Research has shown that regularly writing in a diary can boost the immune system, ease stress and depression and help you recover more successfully from traumatic events. Furthermore, reflecting on the good things in your life can help you to think more positively. Try to take a few minutes at the end of each evening to reflect on your day, taking time to count your blessings as well as reflecting on the things from which you can learn.

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Having neither too high nor too low levels of sodium [salt] is optimal for health

 Could a Low Salt Diet Hurt Your Health?- A controversial new study contends that a low-salt diet could be dangerous for your heart health.

Restricting dietary salt to below 3,000 milligrams a day appears to increase the risk for heart disease similar to that of high blood pressure patients who eat too much salt, said lead researcher Andrew Mente.

"Having neither too high nor too low levels of sodium [salt] is optimal for health," said Mente, an associate professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster University, in Ontario, Canada.

The American Heart Association is highly critical of Mente's study. The AHA says the study relies on incorrect estimates of sodium intake, and should not lead anyone to relax concerns over excess salt in the average U.S. diet.

"This is an extremely flawed analysis that doesn't provide new information, and it should not be used to guide public policy," said Dr. Elliott Antman, immediate past president of the AHA and an associate dean for clinical and translational research at Harvard Medical School.

"The American Heart Association continues to recommend less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day from all sources," he said.

Most Americans consume about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day, more than twice the recommended amount, according to the heart association.

Mente said, based on his analysis, only people with high blood pressure need to worry about reducing salt intake.

He said his study results showed that a low-salt diet increases the risk of heart attack or stroke 26 percent for people without high blood pressure and 34 percent for people with high blood pressure.

For those with high blood pressure, too much dietary salt increases their risk 23 percent, the study said.

On the other hand, a diet with excess salt doesn't increase the risk at all if blood pressure is normal, the study reported.

"Most of the population eats what they're supposed to eat, based on the data," Mente said. "They fall in the middle and that's actually the sweet spot -- the safest range of intake."

Excess salt increases blood pressure in some people by causing the body to retain water, putting extra strain on the heart, the heart association says.

Mente said a low-salt diet can activate the body's renin-angiotensin system. This is a hormone process that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance.

"If you attempt to reduce your blood pressure by lowering your sodium, you're lowering your blood pressure but you're activating your renin-angiontensin system," Mente said.

For their analysis, Mente and his colleagues pooled results of four studies that measured salt intake and tracked heart health. Together, the studies involved more than 133,000 people from 49 countries.

Each study used a single, morning urine sample from each person to estimate their regular daily salt intake for extended periods of time, an approach the AHA's Antman called "deficient."

People with less than 3,000 milligrams of sodium in their urine were assigned to the low-sodium group, while 7,000 or more milligrams of urinary sodium was considered high-sodium.

Antman said, "They (the study authors) make the assumption that a measurement of urine sodium in a spot fashion like this, at one moment in time, can reliably inform us about what the sodium intake was during the course of the study."

Antman is concerned that news reports of this study will lead people to make diet choices that could prove disastrous to their heart health.

"Unless we point out the deficiencies with this analysis, there could be a major public health problem," he said.

The study results were published May 20 in The Lancet.

Sharon Zarabi, a registered dietitian at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said salt has been a part of the human diet for millennia. But, the advent of processed foods has led to its use in larger doses for flavor and as a preservative, she said.

"We treat patients with hypertension [high blood pressure] with the DASH dietary approach, a diet which includes a variety of fruits and vegetables and limits added salt," Zarabi said. "As most dietary research studies claim 'everything in moderation,' try to avoid condiments and processed foods that have more salt than you might expect, such as salad dressings, mustard, cheese, sauces and even bread products."

Dr. Howard Levite, director of cardiology for Staten Island University Hospital in New York City, said the idea that most people are consuming the right amount of salt is "controversial." This new analysis does not disprove the need to watch salt intake as a means of warding off heart disease, he added.

"The article raises the possibility that once achieving middle age the current sodium guidelines for an individual may need to be liberalized. But, this in no way detracts from the prevention goals that are the raison d'etre of the established protocols," Levite said.

SOURCES: Andrew Mente, Ph.D., associate professor, clinical epidemiology and biostatistics, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada; Elliott Antman, M.D., immediate past president, American Heart Association, and associate dean, clinical and translational research, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Sharon Zarabi, R.D., Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Howard Levite, M.D., director, cardiology, Staten Island University Hospital; May 20, 2016, The Lancet

Source: HealthDay

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