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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Education on Low-Salt Diet Benefits People with Kidney Disease, Michigan Study Finds

Educating patients about limiting salt intake can reduce blood pressure in people with kidney disease, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Michigan.

[Photo: Dr. Rajiv Saran]

High blood pressure and excess salt and water retention—both common in people with kidney disease—put stress on the heart and blood vessels, according to the study’s lead author Dr. Rajiv Saran, of the University of Michigan School or Public Health and Medical School.

For people with kidney disease in particular, the combination of high blood pressure and excess fluid can be deadly, but doctors typically don’t take the time to educate patients about reducing salt intake, Dr. Saran says.

He and his colleagues wanted to know whether having dietitians talk with kidney disease patients about ways to reduce sodium intake would help.

They looked at 58 adults with chronic kidney disease. Half of the study participants received counseling from dietitians on cutting salt while the other half maintained their normal diet for four weeks. After a two-week break, the two groups were switched for an additional four weeks.

Those in the group receiving counseling were encouraged to consume less than 2,000 milligrams of salt a day.

During the study, 79 percent of participants reduced their sodium, with two-thirds reducing it by more than 20 percent. Patients also saw their systolic blood pressure go down by an average of 11mmHg and reduced their fluid volume by 1 liter.

“It’s conceivable that you would not only reduce the long-term effects of blood pressure, but also you may in fact reduce progression of chronic kidney disease,” Dr. Saran says.