Dialysis Patients Cutting Salt Effective

INDIANAPOLIS, May 31 (UPI) — Dialysis patients with high blood pressure may do well to cut salt and ditch drugs, a U.S. doctor suggests.

Dr. Rajiv Agarwal of the Indiana University School of Medicine and Roudebush Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis says reducing fluid build-up in the blood is more effective than using anti-hypertensive medications. He suggests returning to the forgotten but effective strategy of achieving and maintaining dry weight — the lowest weight safely reached immediately after dialysis without developing low blood pressure symptoms.

Cutting salt intake helps control blood pressure and makes it easier for patients to get down to a proper dry-weight, Agarwal said.

Agarwal and Dr. Matthew Weir of the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore looked at medical studies on dry-weight and concluded salt restriction and dry-weight reduction through dialysis together provide more benefits to the heart than anti-hypertensive medications.

“Medication-directed approaches for blood pressure control should be a secondary consideration to manipulating the diet and dialysis prescription in order to achieve dry-weight,” the authors says in a statement.

The study, published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology, suggests dry-weight can be assessed inexpensively by using two tests — relative plasma volume monitoring, which detects changes in volume of a patient’s blood, and body impedance analysis, which determines lean body mass.

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