Pharmacist Tsai Hui-jun (蔡蕙君) said, “It should be no problem to take low-sodium salt and reduced-salt soy sauce under normal conditions, but patients taking antihypertensive drugs like ACEI and ARB or people with renal dysfunction must be very careful when using low-sodium salt, because commercially available low-sodium salt and reduced-salt soy sauce cut sodium by a half and then add a large amount of potassium ions. Meanwhile, antihypertensive drugs like ACEI and ARB reduce the discharge of potassium, thus causing potassium in our body to rise. People with renal dysfunction normally have relatively high potassium. If they eat foods seasoned with low sodium and high potassium, their potassium concentration will rise, resulting in muscle weakness, cardiac arrhythmias and other symptoms.”
It is suggested that patients taking antihypertensive drugs or people with kidney disease should have blood tests regularly to check their potassium concentrations. It is also suggested that they use ordinary salt in cooking. If the intake of salt is no more than 5 grams a day, it will not affect the control of blood pressure at all.
Feng Xiang-hua (馮祥華), a nephrologist, said, “Patients with hypertension should pay attention to what drugs they are taking. If they have other complications, kidney disease or cirrhosis, they should also watch out for the potassium content in their diet. It should be stressed that each patient is unique. So, every patient must consult with his or her own physician and/or pharmacist on whether to eat food with potassium and how much potassium one can take.”
To effectively prevent the occurrence of complications, patients with chronic disease must take medication according to prescription, exercise regularly, have a balanced diet, control their weight, have regular inspections and exercise self-management in every-day life. In addition, if there is any medical issue, physicians and pharmacists must be consulted to ensure safety in medication.