A low-salt diet reduced blood pressure levels

Systolic blood pressure decreased by 6 mm Hg. in patients who followed a low-salt diet for just a week. Among participants with hypertension, the reduction was significantly greater.

Scientists from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the University of Alabama and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) assessed the sensitivity of blood pressure to the amount of salt consumed. Results from the CARDIA-SSBP study, presented at the AHA 2023 Scientific Sessions, are published on Medscape.

The mean systolic blood pressure (BP) of participants with a normal diet was 125 mmHg. This figure increased to 126 mm Hg. on a high sodium diet and decreased to 119 mm Hg. on a low sodium diet. A more pronounced effect of a low-salt diet was observed in people with baseline high blood pressure and in patients with diabetes, in whom the average reduction in systolic blood pressure on a low-salt diet was almost 17 mm Hg. compared with an average decrease of 6-8 mm Hg. in the whole group. But normotensive participants also showed a significant decrease in blood pressure.

The CARDIA-SSBP study included 213 people aged 50–75 years, including people with and without hypertension. Participants had their blood pressure measured by 24-hour monitoring in an outpatient setting while they ate their usual diet. They were then randomized to a high-sodium diet group or a low-sodium diet group.

The analysis showed that the average sodium content in daily urine was 4.45 g/day. Among participants who ate a high-salt diet, urinary sodium levels increased by up to 5 g/day. When following a low-salt diet, urinary sodium levels decreased to 1.27 g/day.

According to the researchers, following a low-salt diet in patients with arterial hypertension can reduce the amount of antihypertensive therapy, and in normotensive individuals the risk of developing hypertension will decrease.

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