Monday, November 18, 2013

Less Salt More Potassium For Stroke Prevention!

About 98 percent of Americans consume an average 3436 milligrams of salt (sodium) daily, which is more than twice the recommended amount for a healthy diet, according to American Heart Association (AHA).

Higher intake of sodium is tied to a higher risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure) that would eventually lead to heart disease and stroke, as suggested by many studies. However, little is known about that lower potassium consumption could also lead to high blood pressure.

Several studies published on April 4, 2013 in the ‘British Medical Journal’ (BMJ reported that less salt and more potassium in a person's diet could lower blood pressure and hence the risk of stroke. In the first study, researchers from the Queen Mary University of London and Affiliated Hospital of LuZhou Medical College, China argued that while the current recommendations to lower salt intake from 9-12 to 5-6 grams per day will have a major effect on blood pressure, a further reduction of 3 grams per day will have a greater effect and should become the long-term objective for population salt intake.

Using data collected from 34 trials consisting of 3230 participants, researchers examined people with hypertension and those with normal blood pressure. The results showed that notable decreases in blood pressure in both groups after 4 or more weeks of modest salt intake. The change in the diet did lower their risk of heart attack, heart failure as well as stroke.

The second study by a group of scientists from Britain, Germany and Switzerland found that lower salt intake reduced blood pressure yet had no negative impact on hormone levels, blood lipids, or kidney function, as shown by high quality evidence. A total of 56 reports were analyzed, 37 of which were of high quality. A reduction in sodium intake could lower blood pressure in kids, as demonstrated by moderate quality evidence.

Lower sodium intake was also linked to a reduced risk of stroke and fatal coronary heart disease in adults. The totality of evidence suggested that most people will likely benefit from lowering sodium intake.

Researchers from Britain and Switzerland examined data in the third study on potassium intake and health from 33 reports consisting of 128,644 healthy volunteers. The high quality evidence showed that higher potassium intake reduced blood pressure in people with hypertension but had no adverse effect on hormone levels, kidney function, or blood lipids in adults. Meanwhile, moderate quality evidence also indicated that higher potassium intake was linked to a 24 percent lower risk of stroke.

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