Hidden ingredient in paracetamol could increase risk of heart disease – says study

This Morning: Dr Ellie explains paracetamol and heart disease link

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The age of the patients whose date was analysed were aged between 60 and 90.

As a result of the findings, the study concluded: “Sodium…was associated with a statistically significant higher risk of incident cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality than the non-sodium-containing acetaminophen initiation among individuals with and without hypertension.

“Both individuals with and without hypertension should avoid unnecessary sodium intake through sodium – contain acetaminophen use”.

However, not many people are aware of this and so thousands, potentially hundreds of thousands of people, could be exceeding their daily salt intake.

Lead author of the study, Professor Chao Zeng, believes doctors should prescribe salt-less versions of paracetamol in order to reduce the risk.

The Professor added: “People should pay attention not only to salt intake in their food but also not overlook hidden salt intake from the medication in their cabinet.

“Our results suggest revisiting the safety profile of effervescent and soluble paracetamol”.

Researchers from the study also advise that manufacturers of paracetamol containing salt should add warnings to their packaging warning consumers.

One of the leading causes of heart disease, alongside a number of key causes is high blood pressure.

A poor diet high in fat and salt can increase the risk of high blood pressure and subsequently heart disease.

This is why the results are so important; not only do they provide an insight into a potential risk of taking some types of paracetamol, but they could also reduce the risk of heart disease by individuals by individuals avoiding soluble paracetamol products.

In response to the study the medical director of the British Heart Foundation, Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, remarked that some caution had to be taken over the result as it did have data about the levels of salt present in the patient’s diets.

Furthermore, Professor Samani added: “It’s also important to remember that observational studies like these can only show an association, rather than prove cause and effect.

“If you take paracetamol that contains sodium occasionally to manage an isolated headache or very short bouts of pain, these research findings should not cause unnecessary concern”.

As a result, more data will need to be collected in order to establish a link between soluble paracetamol and an increased risk of heart disease.

High blood pressure is not the only risk factor for heart disease with smoking, high cholesterol, lack of exercise, and diabetes all playing a role in increasing or decreasing the risk of the condition.

Treatment for heart disease will depend on the extent, severity and type of heart disease in question.

Lifestyle changes are one of the most effective ways to treat conditions such as coronary heart disease.

These changes include eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and reducing consumption of alcohol.

For more information on heart disease and other heart related conditions contact the NHS or consult with your GP.

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