Tax on salt could reduce cardiovascular disease deaths by 3 percent

April 22, 2012

Voluntary industry reductions in salt content and taxation on products containing salt in 19 developing countries could reduce the number of deaths each year from cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 2-3 per cent in these countries. The preliminary data presented today at the World Congress of Cardiology are the first findings from a new report from Harvard that will be published later this year.

The study set out to assess the cost-effectiveness of two interventions - voluntary reduction by industry, and taxation on salt - in 19 developing countries, that represent more than half of the world's population. The required salt reduction levels were modeled on the UK Food Standards Agency experience which set a series of targets for individual that have led to a net intake reduction, so far, of 9.5 per cent overall in the country. While a taxation increase of 40 per cent on industry prices (similar to tobacco), determined by previous work to lead to a 6 per cent reduction in consumption, was also evaluated.

The analysis found that both strategies would be save money by reducing the number of people needing treatment for hypertension and CVD events such as (heart attacks) and stroke. Moreover, the study found that these two strategies could reduce the incidence of myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) by up to about 1.7 per cent and 1.47 per cent in China and India respectively. Reductions would also been seen in the incidence of stroke of 4.7 per cent in China and 4 per cent in India.

"These results show that strategies to reduce sodium consumption, even by modest amounts, could lead to significant reductions in CVD mortality in developing countries and potentially save overall healthcare costs associated with these diseases," said Dr. Thomas Gaziano, assistant professor, Harvard School of Medicine. "In developing countries, where the burden of CVD is highest, these simple steps could deliver a significant long-term impact and must be something that governments trying to manage rising healthcare costs should consider."

CVD is the world's biggest killer, claiming 17.3 million lives each year. More than 80 per cent of CVD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Projections suggest that CVD will remain the single leading cause of death, and by 2030 will be responsible for 23.6 million deaths each year.

Salt intake and cardiovascular disease

Elevated sodium intake has significant implications for cardiovascular health. A positive relationship between salt intake and high has been established, while salt reduction trials have revealed that a decrease in salt intake is directly related to a decrease in blood pressure.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is one of the major preventable risk factors for premature death from CVD worldwide. High blood pressure contributes to around half of all CVD and the risk of developing CVD doubles for every 10-point increase in diastolic blood pressure.

High blood pressure that is left untreated can greatly increase a person's risk of developing CVD. Treating raised blood pressure has been associated with a 35-40 per cent reduction in the risk of stroke and at least a 16 per cent reduction in the risk of myocardial infarction.

Explore further: Additional blood pressure screening may reduce incidence of CVD events and death by up to 3 percent

Related Stories

Additional blood pressure screening may reduce incidence of CVD events and death by up to 3 percent

April 22, 2012
A 25 per cent increase in high blood pressure screening in 19 developing countries would reduce the number of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events and deaths that occur each year by up to 3 per cent in these countries. The ...

Exercise reduces risk of death from cardiovascular disease in people with high blood pressure

April 19, 2012
In the study, all-cause and CVD mortality risks were found to be significantly higher among study participants that didn't exercise compared with active participants at all blood pressure levels. Moreover, the excess mortality ...

Cardiovascular disease risk of high normal blood pressure decreases in old age

April 20, 2012
High normal blood pressure becomes less of a risk factor for incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD) with age, according to a new study presented today at the World Congress of Cardiology.

Study evaluates relationship of urinary sodium with health outcomes

May 3, 2011
In a study conducted to examine the health outcomes related to salt intake, as gauged by the amount of sodium excreted in the urine, lower sodium excretion was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular death, while ...

Largest-ever risk factor study in India identifies cardiovascular disease epidemic causes

April 20, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- The Indian Heart Watch (IHW) study has revealed the truth behind the prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of key risk factors that are driving the country's growing cardiovascular disease (CVD) ...

Middle-age blood pressure changes affect lifetime heart disease, stroke risk

December 19, 2011
An increase or decrease in your blood pressure during middle age can significantly impact your lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to research in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Recommended for you

Early study shows shoe attachment can help stroke patients improve their gait

December 14, 2017
A new device created at the University of South Florida – and including a cross-disciplinary team of experts from USF engineering, physical therapy and neurology – is showing early promise for helping correct the signature ...

Scientists rewrite our understanding of how arteries mend

December 13, 2017
Scientists from The University of Manchester have discovered how the severity of trauma to arterial blood vessels governs how the body repairs itself.

Deadly heart rhythm halted by noninvasive radiation therapy

December 13, 2017
Radiation therapy often is used to treat cancer patients. Now, doctors at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that radiation therapy—aimed directly at the heart—can be used to treat patients ...

Ultra-thin tissue samples could help to understand and treat heart disease

December 12, 2017
A new method for preparing ultra-thin slices of heart tissue in the lab could help scientists to study how cells behave inside a beating heart.

Young diabetics could have seven times higher risk for sudden cardiac death

December 12, 2017
Young diabetics could have seven times more risk of dying from sudden cardiac arrest than their peers who don't have diabetes, according to new research.

Research reveals how diabetes in pregnancy affects baby's heart

December 12, 2017
Researchers at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA have discovered how high glucose levels—whether caused by diabetes or other factors—keep heart cells from maturing ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.