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Less dietary salt linked to drop in cardiovascular disease death in past ten years

Written by | 14 May 2014 | All Medical News

by Bruce Sylvester – A 15% drop in dietary salt use from 2003-2011 in England and a 40% drop in deaths from heart disease and stroke during the same period appear to be related, researchers reported April 14, 2014 in the online journal BMJ Open.

“The reduction in salt intake is likely to be an important contributor to the falls in blood pressure in England from 2003 to 2011. As a result, the decrease in salt intake would have played an important role in the reduction in stroke and ischaemic heart disease mortality during this period,” the authors said.

They noted, however, that 70% of the adult population in England is still eating over the recommended 6g/day. “Therefore, continuing and much greater efforts are needed to achieve further reductions in salt intake to prevent the maximum number of stroke and heart disease deaths.”

The authors based their findings, in part, on analysis of dietary and blood pressure data from more than 31,500 people taking part in the Health Survey for England for the years 2003, 2006, 2008, and 2011.

Among subjects who were not using blood pressure lowering drugs, average blood pressure fell by 2.7/1.1 mm Hg, even after adjustments for other health variables.

They calculated average population salt intake from urine collected over a 24 hour period from about 3,000 participants in the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, conducted between 2003 and 2011. This second survey also utilized random population samples.

They reported that daily salt intake fell by an average of 1.4 g during this period, a drop of 15%.

And, national data for the same period show that stroke deaths fell by 42%, and death from coronary heart disease fell by 40%.

The authors concluded, “With the exception of increasing weight gain, all these trends, along with better treatment of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors would have probably contributed to the dramatic falls in stroke and heart disease deaths.”


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