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Paper of the Day - 'Modest' salt reduction leads to big BP drop

Even modest reductions in salt intake have a significant impact on blood pressure suggests a new study.

Eighty patients with untreated mild to moderate hypertension were randomised to either start a ‘no added salt' diet or continue with their normal diet.

24 hour holter monitoring and urinary sodium excretion measurement were carried out six weeks after the start of the diet.

Although sodium excretion dropped significantly in the ‘no salt added' group of patients – compared to the control group - only 36% of them reached the pre-treatment goal of 24 hour sodium excretion of 100mEq/l.

But mean BP significantly dropped during the day by 12.1/6.8 and at night by 11.1/5.9mmHg.

The authors say this is the first study to show a significant BP drop in patients with mild to moderate hypertension who have simply stopped adding salt to food.

The drops seen here would be predicted to reduce stroke by a third, ischaemic heart disease by a quarter and heart failure by a quarter, they add.

BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, 2007

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