Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cut Your Salt Use and Cut Your Risk of Heart Disease

(HealthDay News) -- Reducing the amount of salt in your diet can lower your risk of developing heart disease by 25 percent and the risk of dying from heart disease by 20 percent, researchers report.

"Dietary intake of sodium among Americans is excessively high," said lead researcher Nancy Cook, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "Our study suggests that reducing the level of salt in the diet would lead to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease."

Sodium is known to affect blood pressure levels, particularly among people with high blood pressure, Cook said. "Among hypertensive individuals, lowering sodium is pretty well established to lower blood pressure," she said. "Now it looks like reducing sodium also has an effect on cardiovascular disease."

In the study, Cook's group examined people from two trials completed in the 1990s that analyzed the effect of reduced salt consumption on blood pressure. All the participants in the trials had "high-normal" blood pressure -- sometimes called "pre-hypertension" -- and were at increased risk of developing heart disease. Read more...

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