Salt and High Blood Pressure – Comments from Georgetown Cardiologist

Posted in News Release

WASHINGTON (July 29, 2015)– According to a study published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association, “People who gradually increase the amount of salt in their diet and people who habitually eat a higher salt diet both face an increased risk of developing high blood pressure.”

Georgetown cardiologist Allen J. Taylor, MD, FACC, FAHA, warns “You might never touch a salt shaker, yet still be eating a high salt diet!”  

Taylor says the Japanese study shows more than 1 in 5 healthy middle-aged people developed high blood pressure in less than 5 years. Among the factors leading to a new diagnosis of high blood pressure, high salt intake and increased dietary salt intake stood out as prominent factors.  

“People who should be most aware of this information include older individuals, particularly those with other heart risk factors such as diabetes or high blood cholesterol, and those with a family history of high blood pressure,” Taylor says.

He adds that a healthy level of dietary salt intake is less than 2300 mg of sodium per day.  

“The challenge is that with so much processed and prepared food in today’s American diet – foods high in salt – it’s difficult to know how much salt you are eating,” Taylor says.  

Taylor notes there are helpful tools. “Fortunately, a number of mobile device apps have been created that empower people to input their foods and learn about their dietary quality, including salt intake.”

Taylor is professor of medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine.  He is chief of cardiology at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.