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Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine - Barts and The London

REDUCING SALT LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE MORE FOR OLDER PEOPLE, NON-WHITE POPULATIONS, AND THOSE WITH HIGHER BLOOD PRESSURE

A new meta-analysis published in the BMJ shows that salt reduction lowers blood pressure across the whole population, including among those with “normal” blood pressure, but also that people who are older, have higher blood pressure, or are of non-white ethnicity have an even bigger fall in blood pressure for a given reduction in salt intake. The study by the Wolfson’s Action on Salt group and other international researchers provides new evidence supporting salt reduction as a key public health strategy to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of strokes and heart disease.

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The meta-analysis included 133 randomised trials with 12,197 individuals looking at the effect of salt reduction on blood pressure, and showed that the greater the reduction in salt intake, the greater the fall in blood pressure. For people who are older, have higher blood pressure, or are of non-white ethnicity, the greater fall in blood pressure for a given reduction in salt intake means that longer term reductions are likely to have a greater effect.

These findings are important as they indicate that population-wide reduction in salt intake should lower population blood pressure which in itself will cause a large reduction in strokes and heart disease and, at the same time, it is likely to prevent people from developing high blood pressure as they get older.

“Effect of dose and duration of reduction in dietary sodium on blood pressure levels: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials” BMJ 2020 Feb 24;368:m315. doi: 10.1136/bmj.m315