Dietary Salt Reduction and Cardiovascular Disease Rates in India: A Mathematical Model

Dietary Salt Reduction and Cardiovascular Disease Rates in India: A Mathematical Model

Reducing salt intake has been proposed to prevent cardiovascular disease in India. This study sought to determine whether salt reductions would be beneficial or feasible, given the worry that unrealistically large reductions would be required, worsening iodine deficiency and benefiting only urban subpopulations. Using mathematical models, future myocardial infarctions (MI) and strokes in India were predicted, simulating men and women aged 40 to 69 in both urban and rural locations, incorporating the risk reduction from lower salt intake. 

Reducing intake by 3 g/day over 30 years is predicted to reduce annual MIs by 350,000, strokes by 48,000 and deaths by 81,000. The largest decline in MIs would be among younger urban men, but the greatest number of averted strokes would be among rural men, and nearly one-third of averted strokes and one-fifth of averted MIs would be among rural women.

The authors conclude that modest reductions in salt intake could substantially reduce cardiovascular disease throughout India.