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Salt intake sensitivity identified

16th February 2009

One in five people may have to consider reducing their salt intake because of a previously unknown link between metabolic syndrome and blood pressure.

A study published online today shows a link between sensitivity to salt intake and metabolic syndrome – a combination of medical disorders which increases with age.

The researchers studied around 1,900 Chinese people by giving them a low-sodium diet for seven days before a high sodium diet for the same period immediately afterwards.

Metabolic syndrome is present in those with a number of factors including abdominal obesity, high glucose, raised blood pressure and low HDL cholesterol.

Those with three or more of these factors had a three-and-a-half times higher risk of high salt-sensitivity during the low sodium phase and a three-fold higher risk of high salt-sensitivity during the high-sodium phase.

“These results suggest that metabolic syndrome enhances blood pressure response to sodium intake,” the study’s authors concluded.

“Reduction in sodium intake could be an especially important component in reducing blood pressure in patients with multiple risk factors for metabolic syndrome.”

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