Inn Med (Heidelb). 2022 Jun 21. doi: 10.1007/s00108-022-01312-0. Online ahead of print.
Nonpharmacological treatment is still an important supplement to the pharmacological treatment of hypertension. Thereby, either an elevated blood pressure can be lowered further or, alternatively, the use of antihypertensive drugs can be reduced. In the context of nonpharmacological treatment of hypertension, sodium restriction plays an important role. Sodium intake can either be reduced by lowering excessive dietary salt consumption or by the use of table salts with reduced sodium content. Lower dietary sodium consumption lowers blood pressure. This was controversial for a long time; however, now more and more observational and interventional studies have confirmed this fact. Nevertheless, some studies have shown an association of low salt consumption with increased mortality. This observation is explained by the so-called reverse epidemiology. This means that diseases with increased mortality, such as consuming diseases or severe heart diseases are associated with lowered food intake and as a consequence, with lower sodium intake. In addition to sodium restriction, the use of so-called salt substitutes with lower sodium content is also effective in lowering blood pressure. In most of the salt substitutes examined so far sodium chloride is partly replaced by potassium chloride. Numerous investigations show that these salt substitutes lower blood pressure. From a statistical point of view side effects such as hyperkalemia are very rare; however, hyperkalemia is potentially life-threatening. Therefore, the broader use of these salt substitutes is principally helpful but these salts should only be used after medical consultation. Especially renal insufficiency and the use of certain drugs, such as potassium-sparing diuretics and blockers of the renin-angiotensin system increase the risk of hyperkalemia.