Hypertension Canada convened the nation’s top high blood pressure experts at this year’s Vascular 2013 Conference in Montreal, Quebec to debate the issue of what the appropriate recommended sodium intake levels should be for Canadians living with high blood pressure and those who are trying to prevent it.
The current recommendations ask Canadians aged 14 to 50 to limit their daily sodium consumption to 1,500 mg (about a quarter of a teaspoon), with even lower levels set for those aged 51 to 70 (1,300 mg) and aged 70 and over (1,200 mg).
After much discussion, lead by the Canadian Hypertension Education Program (CHEP) -‐ Hypertension Canada’s recommendations task force – it was decided to raise the limit of sodium intake from 1500 mg/day to 2000 mg/day or approximately one teaspoon—or about the amount of salt in 3 bran muffins bought at a well known franchised coffee shop.
“We feel that raising the limit to 2000 mg/day is a more accurate reflection of the scientific data,” says Dr. Raj Padwal, Hypertension Canada spokesperson and Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Alberta. “This new limit of sodium intake also shows a reduction in blood pressure based on recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO).”
Most Canadians exceed even the upper limit, consuming on average 3,400 mg/day.
“This new recommendation will make it easier for Canadians to regulate the amount of sodium in their diets,” adds Dr. Luc Poirier, spokesperson, Hypertension Canada and CHEP co-‐chair.
Hypertension Canada’s new recommendation is expected to have a positive influence on Health Canada’s policies around high blood pressure. “Hypertension Canada works closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada when it comes to advising on recommendations of this nature,” says Dr. Ross Feldman, spokesperson Hypertension Canada and Professor of Medicine at Western University, London.
“Our role is to develop the best recommendations based on best evidence; we count on Health Canada to consider this evidence and implement it in such a way that improves Canadian’s heart health.”
Canadians can visit hypertension.ca/public for useful tips on reducing sodium intake.
The new recommendation will be made effective January 2014.
The Canadian Hypertension Education Program (CHEP) is Hypertension Canada’s knowledge translation program that targets healthcare professionals in clinical and community settings. CHEP provides annually updated standardized recommendations and clinical practice recommendations to detect, treat and control hypertension. The annual, evidence-‐based recommendations are developed through intense discussion of the clinical implications via a systematic review of the literature followed by critical appraisals of all the new clinical research.
About Hypertension Canada
Hypertension Canada is the country’s authoritative voice on the management of high blood pressure. Committed to delivering positive benefits to the 7.4 million Canadians living with high blood pressure on a daily basis, Hypertension Canada is an influential collaboration of researchers, clinicians, and policy makers dedicated to advancing health through the prevention and control of high blood pressure and its complications.
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Elissa Freeman For Hypertension Canada