Cut Hypertension Drugs With Low-Salt Diet

By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Health News

Reviewed By Elizabeth Klodas, MD, FACC

July 20, 2009 — Lowering daily salt intake may reduce the need to prescribe additional medications to control high blood pressure, according to a new study.

Patients with resistant hypertension are those who take three or more medicines to try and control their blood pressure, but their readings are still high. “These patients especially benefit from a low-salt diet,” says study lead author Eduardo Pimenta, MD, a clinical research fellow in the hypertension department of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

“Doctors tend to add more and more antihypertensive medications,” he says, but “these patients could have their blood pressure controlled with a low-salt diet and fewer medications.” Based on his study, he says, doctors should consider additional lifestyle intervention, reinforcing to patients the importance of a low-salt diet before adding more drugs.

The study is published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association. In the same issue, another study found that modest salt reduction reduced blood pressure in blacks, whites, and Asians who had mildly elevated pressures, and that the low-salt diet also produced other health benefits.