The low-sodium salt prevents stroke

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Replacing salt with a low-sodium alternative lowers the risk of stroke in people with high blood pressure or previous stroke, according to recent research, according to recent research published in the New England Journal of Medicine .

Both high sodium intake and low potassium intake are associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death, but their effects on heart disease, stroke and premature death are not fully investigated. In addition, there have been concerns about the cause of hyperkalemia (high potassium) in people with chronic kidney disease, which leads to cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death.

The salt substitute study and stroke compared the effect of the reduced sodium salt substitute compared to regular salt on stroke, cardiovascular events, mortality and clinical hyperkaliemia. The research participants were adults with a previous stroke or over the age of 60, with poorly controlled blood pressure.

The trial was conducted in 600 villages in five different provinces in rural China. Approximately 35 people from each village were recruited and a total of 20,995 participants were randomized into groups according to locality, in a 1: 1 ratio to the provision of salt substitute or the continuous use of regular salt.

Participants in the intervention areas were offered a free salt substitute (approximately 75% sodium chloride and 25% potassium chloride) and were recommended to use it for all preparations, including spices and food preservation.

They were also encouraged to use the substitute in smaller amounts than they used to use salt to maximize sodium reduction. A sufficient salt substitute was provided to cover the needs of the whole household (about 20 grams per person per day).

The average age of the participants was 65.4 years and 49.5% were women. Approximately 72.6% had a history of stroke and 88.4% had a history of hypertension.

During an average monitoring of 4.74 years, more than 3,000 people suffered a stroke, over 4,000 died and over 5,000 had a major cardiovascular event. The risk of stroke was reduced in those who used the salt substitute.

In terms of secondary outcomes, major cardiovascular events (non-fatal stroke, non-fatal acute coronary syndrome, vascular death) were, in turn, reduced in people who used salt substitute. Total mortality was also reduced and there was no increased risk of serious adverse events attributed to clinical hyperkaliemia with salt replacement compared to regular salt. No other risks were identified.

Principal Investigator Professor Bruce Neal of the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney said: “This study provides clear evidence of an intervention that could be implemented very quickly at a very low cost and thus 461,000 premature deaths would could be avoided every year in China, now that the salt substitute has proven to be effective. ” And these benefits are not just for China, but for anyone making that change. He added: “The result of the study is particularly interesting because salt substitution is one of the few practical ways to make changes to the salt that people consume. Other salt reduction efforts have worked to achieve a high and sustained impact. ”

Do you want to know what other spices or foods to avoid or reduce in your personal diet, for a balanced diet? We recommend the free Dahna app, created by cardiologists and nutritionists, which you can download from the App Store or Google Play .

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