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High Blood Pressure and Reduced Salt Intake, Drugs or No Drugs?

read more articles on heart problemsHigh Blood Pressure and Reduced Salt Intake, Drugs or No Drugs?

"The current public health recommendations are to reduce salt intake from 9 to 12 grams a day to 5 to 6 grams a day. However, these values are based on what is feasible rather than the maximum effect of salt reduction. In an 'overall] analysis of longer-term trials, we looked at the 'results] of salt reduction and fall in blood pressure...

"All 3 studies demonstrated a consistent dose response to salt reduction... A reduction of 3 grams a day predicts a fall in blood pressure of 3.6 to 5.6 and 1.9 to 3.2 'points] 'in those with high blood pressure] and 1.8 to 3.5 and 0.8 to 1.8 'in those with normal blood pressure.]

"The effect would be doubled with a 6 gram a day reduction and tripled with a 9 gram a day reduction. Reducing salt intake by 9 grams a day would reduce strokes by approximately one third and 'heart disease] by one quarter...This would prevent 'more than] 20,500 stroke deaths and 31,400 heart disease deaths a year in the United Kingdom 'where the study was done. Obviously the number would be vastly higher in the U.S.] All emphases were added.

"The current recommendations to reduce salt intake of the 9 to 12 gram 'intake] to 5 to 6 grams a day will have a major effect on blood pressure and 'heart disease] but are not ideal. A further reduction to 3 grams...will have a much greater effect and should now become the long-term target for population salt intake worldwide."

DETAILS: This is good advice, but one should note that the recommendation does not say zero salt. This extreme would be unhealthful.

High Blood Pressure and Reduced Salt Intake, Drugs or No Drugs? Bibliography

Hypertension (pub. by Amer. Heart Assn.,) vol. 42, 2003. By: Feng & MacGregor, Blood Pressure Unit, St. George's Hospital Medical School, London, England.

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