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Too Much Salt Increases Heart Disease Risk

doctors are warning that the public is eating too much salt, which increasing their risk of developing which leads to , stroke, kidney disease and diabetes.

High salt intake is estimated to be the cause of around one third of cases, worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends an average daily intake of 5 grammes of salt per day. However, in the UAE the average intake of dietary salt is estimated to be around 7 g/pd.

This high intake of dietary salt has been linked to an increase in consumption of fast food and pre-packaged meals in the UAE over recent years these foods not only contain high levels of fat but also high levels of sodium (salt).

Medical estimates put the average consumption of salt in the UAE at 7 grammes per day, which is significantly higher than internationally recommended levels. The need to cut dietary salt is an issue that we urgently need to highlight in the UAE as more people adopt Western lifestyles, which involves an increase in the consumption of packaged, restaurant and fast foods that contain high levels of sodium, warned Dr. Wael Almahmeed, a Cardiologist at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi, and President of Emirates Cardiac Society (ECS).

Too much dietary salt is a major risk factor for developing hypertension, but people can lower this risk by not adding salt to their food. Hypertension increases the risk of developing stroke, heart disease, in the form of heart attacks and heart failure, and kidney problems, which if left untreated can lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis, as well as possible loss of sight, added Dr. Arif Al Mulla, Head of Cardiology at Dubai Hospital.

Prevalence data cited by UAE doctors suggests that up to 27.9 percent of the countrys population over the age of 18 suffer from high blood pressure [1], which is known as the silent killer, because it has no obvious symptoms but increases the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes, all of which reduce life expectancy.

Because of modern lifestyles, which involve eating more fast foods that contain high levels of salt, our children are at a higher risk of high blood pressure at an early age. People should have their blood pressure checked annually and even more regularly if they suffer from obesity, stress and a family history of the disease, which puts you at an even higher risk of developing hypertension, concluded Dr. Abdulla Shehab, Director of Continuing Medical Education for the ECS, and the Faculty of Medicine at UAE University, Al Ain.

Thousands of UAE residents have undergone free blood pressure screening and education in the past week at nine different events held at hospitals, private companies and shopping malls across the country, with the support of Novartis, the global sponsors of this years World Hypertension Day (see associated press release attached).

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