• diet;
  • diuretics;
  • hypertension;
  • salt


1. The effect of dietary salt restriction on blood pressure was measured in patients with moderate hypertension receiving antihypertensive medication. Patients were studied during a randomly allocated 6 week period of moderate dietary salt restriction and during a 6 week period of normal diet.

2. Twenty-four of twenty-eight patients achieved a reduction of salt excretion exceeding 20%. In these patients mean urinary sodium excretion fell from 169 (s.e.m. = 13) mmol/24 h to 92 (s.e.m. = 7) mmol/24 h. Potassium excretion and body weight did not change, and with the exception of the erect systolic pressure, there was no overall change in blood pressure.

3. When the data were grouped according to the patient medication, mean supine systolic pressure fell from 148.9 (s.e.m. = 4.4) to 140.3 (s.e.m. = 5.0) mmHg (n= 14, P>0.05) and mean supine diastolic pressure fell from 100.8 (s.e.m. = 2.9) to 97.0 (s.e.m. = 2.8) mmHg (n= 14, P>0.05) in patients taking diuretics. Blood pressure did not change in patients whose medication did not include diuretics.

4. Moderate dietary salt restriction may be therapeutically useful in patients with moderate hypertension treated with diuretics but is of little value in those not receiving diuretics.