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Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2006 Sep-Oct;49(2):59-75.

Sodium intake and hypertension.

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  • 1Institute of Biomedicine, Pharmacology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. heikki.karppanen@helsinki.fi

Abstract

In current diets, the level of sodium is very high, whereas that of potassium, calcium, and magnesium is low compared with the level in diets composed of unprocessed, natural foods. We present the biologic rationale and scientific evidence that show that the current salt intake levels largely explain the high prevalence of hypertension. Comprehensive reduction of salt intake, both alone and particularly in combination with increases in intakes of potassium, calcium, and magnesium, is able to lower average blood pressure levels substantially. During the past 30 years, the one-third decrease in the average salt intake has been accompanied by a more than 10-mm Hg fall in the population average of both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and a 75% to 80% decrease in both stroke and coronary heart disease mortality in Finland. There is no evidence of any harmful effects of salt reduction. Salt-reduction recommendations alone have a very small, if any, population impact. In the United States, for example, the per capita use of salt increased by approximately 55% from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s. We deal with factors that contribute toward increasing salt intakes and present examples of the methods that have contributed to the successful salt reduction in Finland.

PMID:
17046432
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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