Sodium in drugs and hypertension

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f7321 (Published 10 December 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7321
  1. Pasquale Strazzullo, professor of medicine
  1. 1Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University of Naples Medical School, 80131 Naples, Italy
  1. strazzul{at}unina.it

A threat to cardiovascular health that deserves serious attention from health authorities, drug companies, and doctors

Experimental, clinical, and epidemiological studies consistently indicate that excessive salt intake encourages the development of high blood pressure.1 Because hypertension accounts for 62% of strokes and 49% of heart attacks worldwide,2 its prevention and treatment should substantially reduce the number of these events. Recent joint guidelines from the European Society of Hypertension and European Society of Cardiology recommend reducing salt intake to 5-6 g/d as a class 1, grade A lifestyle modification.3 Most commentators agree that any successful salt reduction policy must tackle the problem in adults and children. The high salt content of commercially marketed foods is the main reason for excessive salt intake, making it impractical to reduce salt intake simply as an individual choice. Thus, the World Health Organization promotes whole population strategies, such as characterisation of the national diet and negotiations with the food industry to reduce salt content.2

The linked paper by George and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.f6954) should focus the attention of authorities and health operators on the importance of medical preparations, which so far have been largely disregarded, as another source of sodium intake.4 The …

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