Health Ministry: Eat less salt

The Ministry of Public Health will launch a low-salt diet campaign at every state hospital from March 11 to 17 in an effort to reduce the incidence of kidney disease.

Photo by Pongpet Mekloy

The campaign will run in conjunction with World Kidney Day on March 14.

Nephrology Society of Thailand president Anutra Chittinandana said about 17.5% of the Thai population have kidney disease and there are approximately 7,800 new patients with the disease each year.

About 10,000 patients needed kidney transplants but only 200 actually underwent the operation last year due to a shortage of kidney donors, Dr Anutra said.

He said around 40,000 patients receive peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis treatment, which costs the health system around eight billion baht annually.

"The number is high because Thais generally consume to much sodium salt, twice what the human body needs," Dr Anutra said. "A person needs only a teaspoon of salt, or sodium, each day."

Overconsumption increases blood sodium, he said. This overworks the kidneys, which must restore a balance of electrolytes and fluids. 

Surasak Kantachuvessiri, president of the Low Salt Network, said eating less salt would reduce the number of kidney failures and reduce public healthcare costs.

He said as an example a study in the United States concluded that a 30% drop in salt intake could reduce healthcare costs by $10 billion.

Related search: salt, sodium, kidney disease, public health, thailand

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Writer: Paritta Wangkiat
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