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Sodium, Potassium Intake Tied to Heart Disease

Study finds 24% greater risk per unit increase in salt-to-mineral ratio

MONDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Too much sodium and too little potassium in one's diet may increase one's risk of cardiovascular disease, a new study suggests.

The findings, based on a long-term analysis by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of almost 3,000 people with pre-hypertension, also suggests that increasing potassium consumption along with the common wisdom of lowering one's salt intake may reverse the risk.

Researchers found that for people with high normal blood pressure levels (120 to 139/80 to 89 mmHg), every unit increase in the person's sodium-to-potassium ratio raised his or her chance of cardiovascular disease by 24 percent.

The findings were published in the Jan. 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

A third of American adults have high blood pressure, defined as 140/90 mmHg or higher, while another 37 percent have pre-hypertension.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about factors affecting the risk of cardiovascular disease.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, news release, Jan. 12, 2009

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