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People With High Blood Pressure May Crave Salt
Date:5/15/2013

f salt on each. In that test, 68 percent of participants with high blood pressure preferred the bread with the highest concentration of salt, compared with 31 percent of those with normal blood pressure.

Fifteen days later, participants underwent a similar test, but this time other seasonings had been added to the salted bread. In that case, only 14 percent of patients with hypertension and none with normal blood pressure favored the bread with the highest salt content.

Dr. Domenic Sica, president-elect of the American Society of Hypertension, said the findings may have been influenced by the limited number of patients involved.

"The concept of taste retraining in hypertensive patients, either young or old, is at the foundation of this [research] and is studied in a creative manner," said Sica, a professor of internal medicine and nephrology at Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond. "How rapidly salt preference fell in this study is surprising, and may relate to the small number of subjects studied and a possible training effect."

Some previous studies have pointed to a genetic predisposition to craving salty foods, Villela said, and although there is no way of knowing who may have this predisposition, patients should know it is important to avoid salt despite the cravings.

"[In future research], it would be important to demonstrate that changes in habits can be maintained in the long term and the effect of these changes is reducing cardiovascular risk," she said.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about high blood pressure.

SOURCES: Patricia Villela, M.S., nutritionist and doctoral student, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Domenic Sica, M.D., professor, internal medicine and nephrology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, and president-elect, Americ
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