Low sodium diet can protect blood pressure in people with diabetes

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The link between sodium intake and blood pressure in diabetic patients has been a focus of numerous clinical trials.

This systematic review and meta-analysis aim to evaluate these studies to understand the effects of a low-sodium diet (LSD) versus a high-sodium diet (HSD) on blood pressure in diabetic patients.


Researchers performed a comprehensive search of PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science databases from their inception until July 10, 2021.

The studies included both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetic patients.

The team assessed the risk of bias in the studies based on the Cochrane collaboration tool and deemed the quality of all the studies as good.


A total of 15 studies were included in this meta-analysis.

The findings show that a low sodium diet significantly reduced systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in comparison with a high sodium diet in diabetic patients.

However, the team found no significant effect of a low sodium diet on mean arterial pressure (MAP) when compared with a high sodium diet.

Subgroup Analysis

Subgroup analysis was carried out to identify sources of heterogeneity. For SBP, subgroup analysis could not attenuate heterogeneity.

However, for DBP, subgroup analysis is based on duration and study design.


This meta-analysis suggests that a low sodium diet significantly reduces both SBP and DBP in diabetic patients compared to a high sodium diet.

However, the team found no significant effect on MAP.

This review adds to the growing body of evidence supporting the benefits of a low sodium diet for managing blood pressure in diabetic patients.

As always, patients should consult with their healthcare provider to discuss dietary modifications tailored to their individual needs.

How to prevent high blood pressure if you have diabetes

If you have diabetes, it is important to take steps to prevent or manage high blood pressure (hypertension) because diabetes and hypertension often go hand in hand and can increase the risk of various health complications.

Here are some measures you can take to prevent high blood pressure if you have diabetes:

Control your blood sugar levels: Keep your blood sugar levels within the target range advised by your healthcare provider. Consistently high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of hypertension.

Maintain a healthy weight: Aim to achieve and maintain a healthy weight as recommended by your healthcare provider. Losing excess weight, if necessary, can significantly reduce the risk of developing hypertension.

Follow a balanced diet: Adopt a healthy eating plan that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars.

Consider the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan, which is known to be effective in reducing blood pressure.

Reduce sodium intake: Limit your consumption of sodium (salt) as it can contribute to high blood pressure.

Aim to consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day. Be cautious of hidden sodium in processed foods, canned goods, and restaurant meals.

Exercise regularly: Engage in regular physical activity, as recommended by your healthcare provider. Regular exercise can help control blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, along with strength training exercises.

Limit alcohol intake: If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation. Excessive alcohol consumption can raise blood pressure and negatively affect your diabetes management.

Women should limit themselves to one drink per day, while men should have a maximum of two drinks per day.

Quit smoking: If you smoke, take steps to quit. Smoking damages blood vessels and worsens the effects of diabetes and hypertension. Quitting smoking can have numerous health benefits, including lowering blood pressure.

Manage stress: Find healthy ways to cope with stress, as chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure.

Engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. Regular physical activity can also help reduce stress.

Regular medical check-ups: Schedule regular visits with your healthcare provider to monitor your blood pressure and diabetes management. They can provide guidance and adjust your treatment plan if necessary.

Take prescribed medications: If your healthcare provider prescribes medication to manage your blood pressure or diabetes, take them as directed.

Follow their instructions closely and don’t make any changes to your medication regimen without consulting them.

Remember to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice on managing your diabetes and preventing high blood pressure.

They can provide you with specific recommendations based on your individual health needs.

The research was published in Food Science & Nutrition.

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