high-salt diet

New research reveals that a high-salt diet is likely linked to cardiovascular and cerebrovascular deaths in Shandong Province, China.

A high-salt diet contributes to elevated blood pressure and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases (CVDs). High blood pressure contributes to heart disease and deaths associated with heart disease. Obesity, alcohol, a stationary lifestyle, and not consuming enough fruit and vegetables can also lead to high blood pressure.

Because a high-salt diet can lead to disease, countries around the world are working on sodium intake awareness. The SMASH (Shandong-Ministry of Health Action on Sodium and Hypertension) project was recently introduced in Shandong, which helps raise awareness and discourages high-salt diets.

In a study published by the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers looked at systolic blood pressure (SBP) measurements of 2061 participants who lived in different areas of Shandong. The participants were aged 18 to 69 years old. Researchers also examined the participants’ urinary test results.

The results showed that there were over 81,000 deaths associated with CVD in Shandong in 2011. Researchers estimated that high blood pressure might have caused over 51% of those deaths. Almost 20% of those deaths were believed to be associated with a high-salt diet.

A limitation of this study was that systolic blood pressure measurements were gathered through the SMASH project data system, therefore, researchers had to make estimations. Nevertheless, this study shows the considerable benefits of reducing salt intake.

In order to help reduce CVD and CVD-related deaths, the launch and progression of projects that raise awareness on a high-salt diet are encouraged globally.

Written by Laura Laroche, HBASc, Medical Writer


  1. High sodium intake may contribute to increased heart-disease deaths in China. 2019, https://newsroom.heart.org/news/high-sodium-intake-may-contribute-to-increased-heart-disease-deaths-in-china?preview=b974, assessed 3 Jan. 2019.
  2. Jiyu, Zhang, et al. “Cardiovascular Diseases Deaths Attributable to High Sodium Intake in Shandong Province, China.” Journal of the American Heart Association. January 3, 2019. 1-11. Online.
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