Washington: Turns out, patients with high blood pressure depend on medication to reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke rather than decreasing salt intake as instructed by their physicians.
"Lack of adherence to recommended lifestyle changes is leading to higher salt intake for hypertensive patients, more medications needed to treat their condition and more side effects from those medications," said Dr. Kazuto Ohno, the lead author of the study which was recently presented at a meeting in Germany.
Excess salt intake is one of the most important causes of hypertension, which makes salt restriction a key strategy to manage it, but few studies have been done on the relationship between salt intake and blood pressure in hypertensive patients undergoing antihypertensive drug treatment.
Dr. Ohno explained, "Patients may be able to improve this vicious cycle by restricting salt intake. In consequence, they may avoid diseases caused by hypertension, such as heart attacks, stroke, and heart failure. Moreover, they may be able to avoid side effects from antihypertensive drugs, such as dizziness and fainting."
The observational study in hypertensive patients with antihypertensive drugs found two comparative facts: an improvement of blood pressure levels and an increase in salt intake. In particular, in hypertensive patients with multiple antihypertensive drugs, salt intake was higher than those taking only one antihypertensive drug.
Dr. Ohno said future research should consider whether nutritional guidance can improve the accomplishment rate of the target blood pressure and decrease the number of antihypertensive drug prescriptions.
The full findings were presented in the meeting at European Society of Cardiology, (ESC) Congress 2018.