SRINAGAR, MAY 17 – On world hypertension day, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday urged people in Kashmir to reduce salt intake to prevent high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.
“Reducing salt intake would help reduce the burden of hypertension in the population,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
Dr Hassan said a large meta-analysis of thirty four trials showed that modest reduction in salt intake for four or more weeks causes a significant fall in blood pressure in both hypertensive and normotensive individuals.
These results support a reduction in population salt intake which will keep hypertension at bay.
He said World Health Organization (WHO) recommends consuming less than 5 grams of salt per day.
In Kashmir salt intake is double, nearly 11 grams per day.
“People add high content of salt to food during preparation. Traditional Nun Chai (Kashmiri salted tea) adds to the burden. Processed and packaged foods, whose use has become more widespread in recent years, contain high levels of salt,” he said.
The DAK President said salt is the leading risk factor for high blood pressure which affects one in three people in Kashmir.
“Hypertension increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes the two leading causes of death and disability in the valley,” he said.
Dr Nisar said people should be made aware about the health risks of consuming too much salt.
They should be encouraged to add less salt to food during preparation. They should avoid processed foods and instead focus on foods that are fresh, natural and free of added salt.
“Hypertension is a silent disease. Many people don’t know they have high blood pressure. There are no symptoms and some people only find out after they suffer a heart attack or stroke,” he said.
“Every year on May 17 world hypertension day is observed to highlight the importance of checking blood pressure regularly,” he added.