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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 5:20 EDT

Salt Restriction Improves Blood Pressure in Blacks

August 8, 2005

NEW YORK — Modest reductions in dietary salt can benefit black people with high blood pressure considerably, UK researchers report.

“This study…contributes to the growing and compelling evidence that salt reduction reduces blood pressure and thus will reduce cardiovascular risk,” lead investigator Dr. Pauline A. Swift from St. George’s Hospital Medical Center, London, told Reuters Health.

“It also demonstrates for the first time that salt reduction reduces urine protein excretion, which in turn will reduce the risk of progressive renal disease and may also further reduce cardiovascular risk,” she added. Protein in urine is a sign of kidney damage.

Swift and her colleagues investigated the effects of reducing salt intake from about 10 grams per day to 5 grams per day in 40 non-diabetic black patients with hypertension. None of the participants were on blood pressure-lowering medications.

With salt restriction, the average blood pressure fell from 159/101 to 151/98, the team reports in the medical journal Hypertension. During the same interval, urine protein excretion declined by 18 milligrams per 24 hours.

People with the highest risk for heart disease and kidney disease, such as diabetics, “might be expected to have the greatest personal benefits from salt reduction,” Swift explained.

“In terms of preventing cardiovascular deaths, however, all populations worldwide, should be encouraged to reduce salt intake, at least to the WHO recommended intake of 5 grams per day,” she advised.

SOURCE: Hypertension, August 2005.