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Blood pressure meds, low-sodium salt potentially dangerous

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Patients who take hypertension medicines like angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) should not consume low-sodium salt for it might trigger cardiac arrhythmias, Cathay General Hospital said yesterday.

Feng Hsiang-hua (馮祥華), head of Cathay General Hospital's renal department, yesterday said that, generally, hypertension patients and people who are healthy can base their diets on the principle of low-sodium.

However, Feng said that people who take ACEI or ARBs, medicines used to treat hypertension, and those with renal issues are not advised to consume low-sodium salt.

According to the hospital, a 55-year-old patient surnamed Wang has been taking ACEI on a regular basis, and his wife has been preparing dishes with low-sodium salt. However, Wang's doctor discovered that his blood potassium levels soared.

Feng said that the interaction between ACEI and low-sodium salt will lead to high blood potassium levels and cause patients to suffer from cardiac arrhythmias and myasthenia.

According to the pharmacist of the hospital, even though the amount of sodium is decreased in low-sodium salt and soy sauce, more potassium is added in those productsp.

The pharmacist, if hypertension patients also have renal problems, low-sodium ingredients will make the patients blood potassium levels go up even higher. Therefore, hypertension patients or people who have renal issues can have food that contains refined salt, but the amount of refined salt should be limited within five grams.

According to the hospital, except for the low-sodium salt and soy sauce that might have interaction with ACEI and ARBs, there are other vegetables or fruits that contain high potassium, including carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, bananas, grapes, oranges, celery and pomegranates.

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