Medicine: Water & the Heart

Millions of people suffer from ailments that doctors treat by prescribing low-salt diets. The most important are congestive heart failure and many forms of kidney disease (in which the body retains too much water, to match an excess of salt). Also, salt sometimes complicates cirrhosis of the liver and possibly high blood pressure. Yet in many parts of the U.S. and Canada, says Alberta's Dr. George B. Elliott, the benefits of the low-salt diet are wiped out by the water that patients drink—water loaded with sodium in any of several salts, including sodium chloride (common salt).

Dr. Elliott reports in Circulation (published...

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