(BPT) – Americans are now living longer than ever before. In fact, one of the fastest growing segments is people over the age of 85 who will represent 20 percent of the population by the year 2040. Because we are living longer, certain conditions specific to seniors are also on a steady rise. Dehydration, falls, fractures, cognition loss and attention deficits are now becoming more commonplace.
In a recent paper titled "Salt Appetite Across Generations" presented at a medical conference in Switzerland, Israeli researchers from the University of Haifa indicated that among seniors, a reduced sense of thirst could increase the increased risk of serious dehydration. They also noted that the appetite for salt does not diminish with age, and suggested that this could be used to help sustain hydration and prevent the dangerous symptoms that result from dehydration.
Another study published in the American Journal of Hypertension identified significant risks to cardiovascular health and longevity from consuming any less than 1, or more than 3 teaspoons of salt per day. Fortunately, most Americans, including seniors, when left to their own choice consume right in the middle of this range.
Seniors in assisted living centers can be especially susceptible to the dangers of low salt diets. In 2013 a task force of 12 professional medical, nursing, and nutritional organizations assembled by the Pioneer Network published the "New Dining Practice Standards." Their report concluded that low salt diets were contributing to malnutrition and weight loss among a significant percentage of seniors in assisted living facilities.
Low salt diets can also cause seniors to suffer from mild hyponatremia, an electrolyte imbalance in the blood which may not sound bad but can lead directly to walking impairment, attention deficits and a much higher frequency of falls. Several recent medical papers found a direct relationship between hyponatremia and unsteadiness, falls, bone fractures and attention deficits.
Falls are one of the most serious problems for the elderly and about a third of people over 65 fall at least once every year. Fall-related injuries in the elderly are associated with numerous psychological and physical consequences and are a leading cause of bone breakage and hip fractures, which can lead to complications and permanent disability or death. Some seniors do need a low salt diets but many do not, and it should not be assumed that they all do or benefit from when in fact the opposite may be the case.
* In the competitive world of professional sports, good nutrition can be a key advantage. Global sports icon and international soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo believes that it is essential. That’s why the Portuguese winger/forward is joining forces with Herbalife to promote great nutrition and regular exercise for people of all activity levels.
“I strongly believe in the importance of the right nutrition for me as an individual, both on and off the field,” says Ronaldo. “I am looking forward to working with Herbalife, as a company that shares my passion and brings such expertise and knowledge in the area of sports nutrition.”
Herbalife Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael O. Johnson says that teaming up with Ronaldo is a natural. Ronaldo is a leader on his team and Herbalife is a leader in global nutrition. “One of the most exciting elements of our new relationship is that we will be working with Ronaldo to develop cutting edge sports nutrition products together, which will be cobranded,” said Johnson.
Ronaldo is already working with Herbalife Senior Director of Sports Nutrition Dr. John Heiss on a comprehensive product line. As his official nutrition sponsor, Herbalife will also work with Ronaldo to optimize his own nutrition program and provide him with a range of products to support his demanding training regimen. Finally, he will team up with the Herbalife Family Foundation to develop programs that assist nutritional health and education initiatives.
Johnson says Herbalife gets positive exposure from more than 100 sponsorships of athletes, teams and sports events. “The world is wearing the Herbalife brand and it is a testament to our products that Herbalife is attracting interest from renowned athletes in Europe and around the world.”
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