People who experience a jump in blood pressure when they consume salt are at increased risk of dying from heart disease, according to a study published in the Feb. 16, 2001 supplemental issue of Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association.
The study's findings highlight the potential effects of dietary salt on long-term health. While not all hypertensive people are salt-sensitive and not all salt-sensitive people are hypertensive, salt-sensitive individuals with normal to high blood pressure are at increased risk of death when they consume lots of salt.
Researchers analyzed medical data from about 600 people aged 18 to 80. The initial analysis showed that nearly 40% of the group had high blood pressure and 50% were salt sensitive. About 21% died of cardiovascular
or other causes during the 25-year study. Individuals who were deemed salt sensitive and initially had normal blood pressure were just as likely to have died as those with high blood pressure.
The researchers estimate that 26% of Americans with normal blood pressure and about 58% of those with high blood pressure may be salt sensitive.
Diagnosis and Tests
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to test for salt sensitivity. One method used involves administering a saline solution followed by a diuretic
and noting if blood pressure drops more than 10mm.
Treatment and Prevention
consumption has a beneficial effect of reducing health consequences in those who are salt sensitive. Potassium typically is higher in fruits (especially bananas) and vegetables than other foods.