Heart Disease

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It is commonly thought that too much salt in your diet causes hypertension, but it may be that too little salt could be the problem. Using the right kind of salt however is very important.

A new study found that low-salt diets increase the risk of death from heart attacks and strokes and do not prevent high blood pressure.

The investigators found that the less salt people consumed, the more likely they were to die of heart disease – 50 people in the lowest third of salt consumption (2.5 grams of sodium per day) died during the study as compared with 24 in the medium group (3.9 grams of sodium per day) and 10 in the highest salt consumption group (6.0 grams of sodium per day). And while those eating the most salt, had on average a slight increase in systolic blood pressure – a 1.71-millimeter increase in pressure for each 2.5-gram increase in sodium per day – they were no more likely to develop hypertension.

“If the goal is to prevent hypertension with lower sodium consumption, this study shows it does not work” said the lead author, Dr. Jan A. Staessen, a professor of medicine at the University of Leuven, in Belgium.

Dr. Alderman said the new study is not the only one to find adverse effects of low-sodium diets. He studied people who had high blood pressure and found that those who ate the least salt were most likely to die.

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