News Release

Monday, April 23, 2007

Reducing Sodium Decreases Long-Term Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Reducing sodium intake not only prevents high blood pressure, but also prevents heart disease, according to new clinical trial data from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Men and women with pre-hypertension who reduced their sodium intake by 25 to 35 percent had a 25 percent lower risk of total cardiovascular disease over the 10 to 15 years after they reduced their sodium intake.

“The Long-term Effects of Dietary Sodium Reduction on Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes: Observational Follow-up of the Trials of Hypertension Prevention,” is published online on April 20, 2007 by the British Medical Journal.

Two Trials of Hypertension Prevention were conducted in 10 clinical sites in 1987-1990 and 1990-1995, with follow up for10 to 15 years after that. Through dietary and behavioral intervention, participants in the trials achieved average dietary sodium reductions of 25 to35 percent lower than their average intake before the trial. Both trials found that the reductions in sodium intake prevented high blood pressure. This new follow-up data shows that the groups who reduced their sodium intake also had lower mortality from cardiovascular disease. Mail questionnaires during the follow-up period suggested that some of the dietary changes are long-lasting, despite the difficulty in avoiding high-sodium foods in the United States.

Jeffrey Cutler, M.D., NHLBI project director of the TOHP studies and co-author of the paper, is available to comment on the study's findings.

To schedule interviews, contact the NHLBI Communications Office at 301-496-4236.

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