Benefits from diet lower in salt not limited to those with high blood pressure

It has long been established that people suffering from high blood pressure can benefit greatly by reducing their salt intake.

Until now, it has remained unclear to what extent a salt reduction benefits those with normal blood pressure – if at all. A systematic review of 28 trials with nearly 3000 participants concludes that a modest, longer- term reduction in salt intake leads to a significant decrease in blood pressure, even in people whose blood pressure is normal to start with. Greater the salt reduction, leads to greater lowering in blood pressure. This review's conclusions are important. An overall lowering of blood pressure across the population as a whole, would result in fewer strokes, heart attacks and heart failure.

Authors of the review summed up the results, "Benefits from reducing salt intake not limited to those with high blood pressure. Those with normal blood pressure also benefit. The lower the salt intake, the greater the benefits."

The Cochrane Library - Issue 3 of 2004 is published this week by Wiley, and this newsletter highlights some of the key health care conclusions reached by new Cochrane reviews and their implications for practice.

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