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Changing taste can check hypertension Low Salt Intake From Childhood A Good Habit

COURTESY TIMES OF INDIA MAY 17

WORLD HYPERTENSION DAY
Changing taste can check hypertension
Low Salt Intake From Childhood A Good Habit
Shimona.Kanwar@timesgroup.com

Chandigarh:

By introducing taste modification in diet, hypertension can be prevented, suggests a PGI study. If a person is offered a low-salt diet from the early childhood, this habit is likely to run through generations because their taste buds would be conditioned to it.


The study was conducted by the department of community medicine in the PGI, which has been published in the journal of ‘Advanced Research Publications’. Most of the medical literature has established a dose response relationship between the reduction in salt intake and the decrease in blood pressure. It is estimated that a reduction of salt by 6g per day will lower blood pressure by 4-7mmHg in individuals with high blood pressure and 2-4mmHg in those with normal blood pressure. “Changing human behaviour is a complex process. It is not easy. Rather than just simply advising patients to reduce salt intake, we need to provide alternate strategy by creating an enabling environment for people to adopt this behaviour change. It is much more than an OPD-based doctor-patient interaction. We need to consider family also while devising such strategies,” said Dr Sudip Bhattacharya, corresponding author of the study.

The second strategy recommended by the researchers was to add a counselling room for hypertensive patients. “They may be told that addition of spices/herbs like ginger, black pepper, etc. in their food will help in changing their dietary behaviour,” said Dr Bhattacharya.

Excess dietary salt intake is responsible for 17-30% of hypertension. Thus, salt increases the risk of blood cardiovascular diseases. The study based its strategies on the concept that changing human behaviour is a complex process. “Rather than just simply advising patients to reduce salt intake, we need to provide alternate strategy by creating an enabling environment for people to adopt this behaviour change,” said Dr Bhattacharya.

Accepting the limitations that it is difficult to convince the patients in a hospital setting to reduce salt intake, the researchers recommended to involve mothers in the family, who influence such decision makings in cooking, “The family members may be told about addition of spices/ herbs like ginger, black pepper, etc., in their food. Over a period of time, gradual reduction in salt in diet can help in control of hypertension. This approach has been successfully tried in a project on multi-purpose behaviour therapy in hypertension clinic at the PGI,” said Dr Bhattacharya.

 

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