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Boosting levels of potassium in the diet may lower a person's risk of developing high blood pressure and may decrease blood pressure in people who already have "hypertension." The typical American diet contains about double the sodium and half the potassium that is currently recommended in dietary guidelines. Low potassium intake is thought to contribute to the prevalence of high blood pressure in Americans. In 2006, the American Heart Association issued new guidelines calling for Americans to get 4.7 grams per day of potassium.High blood pressure remains the chief reason for visits to doctors' offices and for prescription drug use in the U.S., two researchers note in a special supplement to The Journal of Clinical Hypertension this month.  They also noted that “in isolated societies consuming diets low in sodium and high in fruits and vegetables, which have and therefore high levels of potassium, hypertension affects only 1 percent of the population. In contrast, in industrialized societies, such in United States, where people consume diets high in processed foods and large amounts of dietary sodium 1 in 3 persons have hypertension. "An increase in potassium with a decrease in sodium is probably the most important dietary choice (after weight loss) that should be implemented to reduce cardiovascular disease.

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