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‘Strong case’ to restrict salt intake in diabetes patients

By Nigel Praities

Encouraging patients with diabetes to keep to a low-salt diet has a similar effect on their blood pressure as starting them on an antihypertensive, concludes a new UK analysis.

The gold-standard meta-analysis conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration Renal Group looked at 13 studies and found restricting salt intake could rapidly reduce blood pressure in patients with diabetes and reduce their risk of kidney disease.

The analysis showed reducing salt intake by at least 2g per day had the same effect as initiating a single antihypertensive treatment, reducing systolic blood pressure by an average of 7 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 3 mmHg after about a week.

The reductions were similar in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, with type 1 patients reducing their blood pressure by 7.1/3.1 mmHg and type 2 patients by 6.9/2.9 mmHg.

The authors of the review – from St George’s Hospital Medical School and Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry – said their review showed a ‘strong case’ for recommending all diabetes patients were on a low-salt diet to prevent progression to chronic kidney disease.

‘These findings, in conjunction with other evidence relating salt intake to BP and albuminuria in hypertensive and normotensive people, make a strong case to reduce salt intake in diabetes, as is recommended for the general population in public health guidelines, to less than 5-6 g/day,’ they concluded.

Cochrane Collaboration published online December 8

Diabetes patients should restrict their salt intake, researchers advise Diabetes patients should restrict their salt intake, researchers advise