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LOSING WEIGHT AND CUTTING SALT AID HYPERTENSION, STUDY SAYS

Learning to relax won't lower your blood pressure if you have borderline hypertension, but losing weight and eating less salt will, scientists reported Wednesday.

Dietary supplements such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and fish oil also proved ineffective in people with "high-normal" blood pressure, the researchers said in the Journal of the American Medical Association.Forty million to 70 million Americans have "high normal" blood pressure of the type analyzed in the study, said the lead author, Dr. Paul K. Whelton of Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.

People with the condition have a greater chance of developing high blood pressure, which contributes to strokes, heart disease and kidney failure.

The study of 2,132 subjects examined seven non-drug treatments that had been thought to be helpful. The subjects were divided into groups of 175 to 417 and given one of the treatments.

Aside from losing weight and cutting down on salt, the approaches were clearly ineffective, Welton said by telephone by Baltimore.