MONTREAL, Oct. 17, 2013 /CNW/ - Hypertension Canada is convening the
nation's top high blood pressure experts at this year's Vascular 2013
Conference in Montreal, Quebec to debate the issue of what the
appropriate recommended sodium intake levels should be for Canadians
living with high blood pressure and those who are trying to prevent it.
The current CHEP recommendations ask Canadians aged 14 to 50 to limit
their daily sodium consumption to 1,500 mg (about a quarter of a
teaspoon), with even lower levels set for those aged 51 to 70 (1,300
mg) and aged 70 and over (1,200 mg).
The issue to be debated: to advise Canadians to aim for less than 2300mg
of sodium per day. This would boost the "acceptable" level of sodium
from one-quarter to a little less than a half a teaspoon a day. The
new recommendation would urge Canadians to cut their sodium intake by
about a third, rather than the 56% reduction previously recommended.
"We expect there will be many opinions about changing the
recommendation," stated Dr. Raj Padwal, Hypertension Canada
spokesperson, CHEP co-chair and Associate Professor of Medicine,
University of Alberta. "But that's what makes the process so important;
by carefully sifting through the evidence and reviewing all sides of
the issue, our aim is to provide the best recommendation possible to
support the vascular health of all Canadians."
Each year, Hypertension Canada convenes its recommendations task force
of the Canadian Hypertension Education Program (CHEP) to review new
scientific evidence that may affect Canadians' prevention, treatment
and management of high blood pressure.
CHEP then advises physicians on the new and/or revised updates.
"A systematic review of the literature found evidence that although
excessive sodium consumption is unhealthy, there are few benefits - and
even some risks - in encouraging everyone to reduce their intake to the
bare minimum. This needs to be carefully balanced with the inherent
health dangers associated with the over-consumption of sodium which has
a direct impact on developing high blood pressure," said Dr. Luc
Trudeau, spokesperson, Hypertension Canada and Director of the
Hypertension Clinic at the Jewish General Hospital, Montreal.
In reality, most Canadians exceed even the upper limit, consuming on
average 3,400 mg/day.
"The debate over the years on the effect of sodium on health at the
population level will always be at the forefront as more evidence
emerges," says Hypertension Canada spokesperson, Dr. Norm Campbell.
"This truly reflects the scientific process - be willing to revise your
understanding as new evidence comes to light."
But there is one thing all the experts can agree on: we consume too much
sodium and much of it comes from processed foods. "Only about 11% of
the sodium Canadians consume comes from salt added during cooking or at
the table," said Ottawa-based dietitian Dr. Debra Reid.
"Three-quarters comes from processed, restaurant and fast foods.
Involving the food manufacturing and food service and restaurant
industries remains a priority for Hypertension Canada if we ever hope
to reduce this country's sodium intake levels."
"By gathering our high level experts, we hope to arrive at the best
answer to this issue. The goals are to accurately reflect the science
of high blood pressure prevention and management," said Dr. Luc
Poirier, spokesperson, Hypertension Canada and CHEP co-chair.
Canadians can visit hypertension.ca/public for useful tips on reducing sodium intake.
The new recommendation will be voted upon after the meeting's conclusion
and if passed, will be made effective January 2014.
The Canadian Hypertension Education Program (CHEP) is Hypertension
Canada's knowledge translation program that targets healthcare
professionals in clinical and community settings. CHEP provides
annually updated standardized recommendations and clinical practice
recommendations to detect, treat and control hypertension. The annual,
evidence-based recommendations are developed through intense discussion
of the clinical implications via a systematic review of the literature
followed by critical appraisals of all the new clinical research.
About Hypertension Canada
Hypertension Canada is the country's authoritative voice on the
management of high blood pressure. Committed to delivering positive
benefits to the 7.4 million Canadians living with high blood pressure
on a daily basis, Hypertension Canada is an influential collaboration
of researchers, clinicians, and policy makers dedicated to advancing
health through the prevention and control of high blood pressure and
SOURCE: Hypertension Canada
For further information:
For Hypertension Canada