Small salt reductions can significantly lower BP

Modest, easily achievable reductions in salt intake can significantly lower BP, UK research suggests.

Dr Rebecca Suckling, of St George's University of London, and colleagues looked at the effects of reductions in salt intake in patients with high normal BP. Dr Suckling presented the findings at the European Society of Hypertension meeting in Oslo, Norway on Sunday.

They examined the impact of such an intervention on BP and urinary albumin excretion.

The study included 44 patients with type-2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance who were not on any medication for BP or diabetes.

In order to study the effect of salt reduction in a double-blind fashion, the researchers gave all the patients advice on how to reduce dietary salt intake to below 6g per day.

Patients then received either a placebo or salt-replacement tablets, which were designed to restore salt intake to pre-study levels. After six weeks, patients switched treatments so that both groups received both interventions.

On average patients achieved cuts in salt intake of 2.9g/day. This led to reduction in systolic BP of 4mmHg (from 135 mmHg) and in diastolic of 2mmHg (from 81 mmHg) and a albumin-creatinine ratio reduction of 12%.

Presenting the findings, Dr Suckling said: 'This suggests potential benefits of such a salt reduction for renal and cardiovascular disease, and certainly supports [the idea that] all diabetics should be on a reduced salt diet, to at least less than 6g, if not lower.'

The European Society of Hypertension Conference will be covered in this week's edition of GP newspaper dated 25 June.

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