Over 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from high blood pressure and it is the single biggest risk factor for death, causing heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
High salt (sodium) consumption is the cause of hypertension in about three in 10 adults. Globally, seven million die every year because of high blood pressure and many of these deaths could be prevented by eating less sodium.
In fact, if salt intake was reduced by half it would save approximately 2.5 million people a year dying unnecessarily of strokes, heart attacks and chronic kidney diseases worldwide.
Sodium is part of table salt but up to 80 per cent of the sodium we consume comes from processed or packaged food and food eaten in restaurants.
The average daily salt intake worldwide is approximately 9-12 grams per person, twice the amount recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) (1 teaspoon of salt of five to six grams per day).
Practical things that people can do to reduce salt consumption are to eat fewer servings of processed and high-sodium foods, check food labels before buying, substitute salt with various spices, and get rid of the salt shaker. The importance of having regular blood pressure checks is also stressed.
This information is being provided by Sector Public Health, Preventive Health Department, as part of its calendar of health observances. The calendar is to promote particular health issues or topics during a specific identified time in the year.
Persons requiring more information about high blood pressure and stroke should contact the Preventive Health Department by calling 542-3553 or 542-2078.