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British Medical Journal

News & Views

DANGERS OF LOW-SODIUM SALT

Use of low sodium salt may lead to hyperkalaemia in patients with impaired kidney function or who are on particular medication, doctors from the Royal Lancaster Infirmary have warned in a letter1 recently published in the British Medical Journal.

Dr Alexandra Dent and colleagues describe the case of a man in his 80s who was admitted to their hospital with complications of diabetes.  During admission his blood potassium levels increased to 6.9 mmol/L and he did not respond to treatment for his raised potassium.

However, he was noticed to add three to four sachets of reduced sodium salt (Solo) to his meals.  Marketed as a healthy alternative to sea salt and sanctioned by medical professionals to contain “near perfect” proportions of sodium, potassium, and magnesium, the product site quotes a randomised double blind placebo controlled trial2 of 100 participants that reported a drop in blood pressure in those receiving a mineral salt rather than common table salt.

After stopping use of Solo, the patient’s potassium levels fell to 5.3 mmol/L.  “Although Solo can reduce blood pressure, it is a potential risk factor for developing hyperkalaemia in vulnerable patients,” warn the authors. “Outpatients with diabetes have also been found to have high potassium values, which have fallen after advice cautioning ingestion of this supplement,” they add. “Clinicians need to be aware of this risk when advising patients with low salt diets.”

References

1 Dent A, Walmsley D, Dhandapani S, Hyperkalaemia is a risk with low sodium salt in vulnerable patients. BMJ 2011;343:d4514.

2 Geleijnse JM, Witteman JC, Bak AA, den Breijen JH, Grobbee DE. Reduction in blood pressure with a low sodium, high potassium, high magnesium salt in older subjects with mild to moderate hypertension. BMJ 1994;309:436-40.

Published on: August 2, 2011

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  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association
 

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