The bad news: North Americans eat too much salt. The good news: if we lower our sodium intake closer to the recommended daily levels, hundreds of thousands of us could be saved from heart disease in the next 10 years.
This is according to a new study done by researchers at SFU and four U.S. universities, who published the results in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension.
Researchers used data from cardiovascular patients, as well as established evidence that salt reduction lowers blood pressure, to gain more information about the relationship between blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
The four teams all came to the same conclusion: there are "substantial benefits" to reducing sodium levels closer to the recommended guideline of 2,300 mg per day, according to SFU health sciences professor Michel Joffres, one of the lead authors of the study.
Every year, more than 2,000 people in B.C. die from sudden heart attacks, according to the provincial health ministry.
To prevent up to 75 per cent of these deaths, the provincial government and the Heart and Stroke Foundation are each providing $1 million for a program to increase public access to automated external defibrillators.
Over the next two years, 450 of the life-saving devices will be installed in venues where large numbers of people regularly gather and where the chances of an individual experiencing sudden cardiac arrest could be more likely.
These include community centres, arenas, recreation centres, playing fields and sports centres.
The current survival rate for an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest is only about five per cent, but this number jumps to 75 per cent if a defibrillator is used within five minutes of a heart attack, according to the ministry.