CANBERRA, Australia – New research in Australia has found that one in three adults in the country has high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Despite efforts to reduce salt intake as a way to combat high blood pressure, many Australians have struggled to make the necessary changes to their diet.
The study suggests a potential solution in the form of potassium-enriched salt, which can help individuals lower their sodium intake and increase their potassium intake. This alternative could be more feasible for many people compared to simply reducing their salt intake.
The evidence from a randomized trial of nearly 21,000 participants showed that switching to potassium-enriched salt not only lowered blood pressure but also reduced the risk of stroke, heart attacks, and early death. In light of this, the World Health Organization’s global report on hypertension has highlighted potassium-enriched salt as an “affordable strategy” to reduce blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular events such as strokes.
However, current clinical guidelines for managing high blood pressure do not consistently recommend the use of potassium-enriched salt. The researchers involved in the study are advocating for clearer recommendations in clinical guidelines to encourage the use of this alternative.
One of the challenges to widespread adoption of potassium-enriched salt is the lack of awareness among the general public about its benefits and availability. Another obstacle is the limited selection and higher cost, as potassium-enriched salts are often more expensive than regular salt.
There are also concerns about potential harm from potassium-enriched salt, particularly for individuals with serious kidney disease. However, research has shown that there is no recorded harm from potassium-enriched salt in clinical trials, and health-care providers can advise against its use for individuals at risk of hyperkalemia.
Efforts to promote the use of potassium-enriched salt are underway in Australia, with the establishment of the National Hypertension Taskforce aiming to improve blood pressure control rates. The hope is that widespread adoption of this alternative salt can lead to significant health benefits for the population.
Ultimately, the use of potassium-enriched salt has the potential to have a major impact on public health, and the researchers are working to make this alternative more accessible to individuals across the country. This shift in salt consumption has the potential to bring about significant health gains in a fraction of the time it took to achieve the widespread adoption of iodized salt.