How much sodium should you have each day?

Study: Reducing salt intake can prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths over 10-year period

Tipped over salt shaker

If you’re a salt lover, you may want to put down that shaker and read on.

The results of a new study say cutting back on sodium intake could prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths from heart attack and stroke over the next 10 years.

The study presented three computer simulation models estimating the benefits of reducing sodium in the American diet.

  • One model estimated the effects of gradually reducing sodium intake by 40 percent over a 10-year period, from 3,600 milligrams down to 2,200 milligrams (approximately one teaspoon of salt) per day.
  • The second model calculated the impact of instantly reducing sodium intake by 40 percent.
  • The third model estimated the effects of reducing sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams (approximately half a teaspoon of salt) a day.

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Lifestyle changes for heart attack survivor lead to better health

Matt Barribeau talks about his cardiac rehabilitation

Matt-Barribeau-golfingHeart attack survivor Matt Barribeau believed he was in fairly good physical condition when he received a health club membership from his wife, Sherry, for his 48th birthday. Little did he know the first day of his new workout routine would result in a life-altering experience: He suffered a serious heart attack on the drive home with Sherry.

Today, two years later, Matt believes it’s a miracle he is alive considering the severity of his heart attack and his initial grim prognosis. He acknowledges the work of exceptional cardiologists at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center, who he says were operating on him within 10 minutes of his arrival at the hospital. He was diagnosed with 100 percent blockage toward the top of his left anterior descending coronary artery, requiring the insertion of a stent, followed later by intra-aortic balloon pump and swan ganz catheter procedures.

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Varicose veins? Exercise can help

Don't miss the Livonia Vein Center booth at Schoolcraft College April 23d

man-swimmingFor patients with vein issues, “Immobility is your enemy,” says Dr. Emily Cummings of the University of Michigan Livonia Vein Center. She recommends low-impact exercise for good vein health. Walking, swimming and biking are examples of low-impact activities that activate the calf muscle, which works like a pump to squeeze the veins and drive blood out of the leg. Dr. Cummings says runners often have fewer symptoms from their varicose veins, likely due to their calf muscle use.

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Video: The relaxation response

Breathing techniques to help you in stressful situations

Deep-breathing techniques such as “circle breathing” and “counting” can help you deal with stressful situations in positive, healthy ways. In “The Relaxation Response,” first in a series of Cardiovascular Care blog videos, Kari Smith, University of Michigan exercise physiologist, demonstrates how the right techniques can help you begin to melt away your stress in a matter of minutes.

What techniques do you use to blow off steam or to manage your stress?


University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center Logo - blueThe University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is the top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit the Heart and Vascular page on

Why sitting can be harmful to your health

And what you can do about it


Excessive sitting can be harmful to your health. According to researchers, even exercising on a daily basis may not be enough to thwart the effects of too much sitting during the rest of the day. So what should you do if you’re a student or have a job that keeps you sitting? Theresa Gracik, director of the University of Michigan Preventive Cardiology Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, recommends that you get up once an hour to move around, stretch, climb a set of stairs or visit a co-worker’s office instead of emailing her — anything to get your body moving.

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Erasing the need for heart transplants

U-M doctors are exploring ways to grow heart tissue for patients, from their own skin cells

Above: Heart tissue created from pluripotent stem cells pulse in a petri dish in Dr. Si’s research lab.

It may sound like a plot point from a sci-fi thriller, but turning skin cells into heart tissue is what Ming-Sing Si, MD, is doing in his research lab at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. And one day, it might eliminate the need for heart transplantation.

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