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Salt trial provokes DASH of skepticism

2:03pm, November 13, 2002

A major new federal trial renews support for salt restriction and a healthy diet as ways of lowering blood pressure, even among people without hypertension.

Roughly one-quarter of U.S. adults have hypertension, defined as a blood pressure higher than about 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Very elevated blood pressure places people at higher-than-average risk of heart attack and stroke.

The new study finds that cutting salt intake "could help many Americans prevent the blood pressure rises that now occur with advancing age," says Claude Lenfant, director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in Bethesda, Md. The new data indicate that even people without hypertension could benefit, he notes.

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