Reducing salt; preventing stroke

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Abstract

Life expectancy is increasing and populations are ageing around the world. This presents a number of challenges; namely an increase in the global burden of chronic diseases. Stroke is one of the most common non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in an ageing population and is the leading cause of death worldwide; the most modifiable risk factor for which, is raised blood pressure (BP). Salt reduction as a means to reduce BP and therefore, stroke, is proven to be effective and has been recognised as such at a global level. Salt reduction reaches entire populations and can therefore benefit everyone, regardless of, gender, age, economic status or ethnicity. Excess salt consumption is a worldwide problem and so all countries need to work together to reduce population salt intake levels to reduce the global burden of stroke and other NCD's, including heart disease and heart failure. Our goal (Consensus Action on Salt and Health and World Action on Salt and Health), in line with the World Health Organization-recommended target, is to reduce worldwide salt intake to less than 5 g per person per day by 2025. In light of this, National and World Salt Awareness Week 2012 (26 March to 1 April) will focus on ‘Reducing salt, preventing stroke’.

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