Salt intake may not affect blood pressure
The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published a study investigating the relationship between salt and high blood pressure (hypertension). This study (3,681 people) correlated salt intake, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and death. People with greater salt excretion were found to have significantly less heart disease and less death from cardiovascular disease.
Published in the May 4 2011 issue of JAMA, the study examined health outcomes related to salt intake by measuring the amount of sodium excreted in urine. Lower sodium excretion was associated with increased risk of cardiovascular death, higher sodium excretion did not increase risk of hypertension or cardiovascular disease complications.
“The assumption that lower salt intake would, in the long run, lower blood pressure, to our knowledge, has not yet been confirmed in longitudinal population-based studies.” said the study, which concluded that associations between systolic pressure and sodium excretion did not mean less morbidity or improved survival.
Low sodium excretion was a predictor of higher rates of death from cardiovascular disease.
Authors say that these current findings do not support current recommendations of generalised and indiscriminate reduction of salt intake for everyone. Only in hypertensive patients did reducing salt in the diet lower blood pressure.
Interestingly, the JAMA study shows that a slight decrease in blood pressure occurs with lowered salt intake but did not affect blood pressure other than in patients with existing hypertension.