Recent Blog Articles

Heart Beat: Cut salt for resistant hypertension

Updated: March 01, 2010

Up to one-third of people with high blood pressure have trouble getting it under control even with three or more daily blood pressure medications. This condition, called resistant hypertension, contributes to stroke, heart failure, and other cardiovascular diseases. Adding yet another medication is an option, but that can be costly and comes with the very real possibility of additional side effects or unwanted drug interactions. Cutting back on salt intake may be another option.

In tests at the University of Alabama at Birmingham involving a dozen volunteers with resistant hypertension, a low-sodium diet reduced systolic blood pressure (the upper number of a blood pressure reading) by 22 points and diastolic pressure (the bottom number) by 9 points, compared with an average American diet (Hypertension, September 2009). The low-salt diet contained 1,150 mg of sodium (half a teaspoon of table salt), or about half the amount the average American takes in each day.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.