Boston: Higher sodium intake may increase lightheadedness, rather than prevent it, according to a US study that challenges traditional recommendations to treat the condition.
Lightheadedness with standing, otherwise known as postural lightheadedness, results from a gravitational drop in blood pressure and is common among adults. While mild in many adults, it has been cited as an important contributing factor in some harmful clinical events, such as falls, according to the study published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension.
Greater sodium intake is widely viewed as an intervention for preventing lightheadedness when moving from seated to standing positions. Contrary to this recommendation, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in the US found that higher sodium intake, when studied in the context of the DASH-Sodium trial (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), increased lightheadedness.
These findings challenge traditional recommendations to increase sodium intake to prevent lightheadedness. “Our study has real clinical and research implications,” said Stephen Juraschek, a primary care physician at BIDMC. “Our results serve to caution health practitioners against recommending increa-sed sodium intake as a universal treatment for lightheadedness.”
The researchers used data from the completed DASH-Sodium trial, a randomised crossover study that looked at the effects of three different sodium levels (1,500, 2,300, and 3,300 milligrammes per decilitre) on blood pressure. All participants ate each of the three sodium levels in random order for four weeks.