COIMBATORE: Three gram reduction in a person's dietary intake of salt would result in over a 20 per cent drop in deaths from stroke and over a 15 per cent fall in death from heart disease, according to a senior cardiologist here. As heart disease and stroke, the world's number one killer, causing 17.5 million deaths every year, eating half a teaspoon less of salt each day could save millions of lives, Dr.S Balaji of the private Sri Ramakrishna Hospital, said on "World Heart Day", organised on September 28. There are several factors which increased the risk of developing high blood pressure, including excessive consumption of salt, he said. “However, by adopting lifestyle changes hypertension is controllable,” Balaji said. Avoiding foods high in salt, refraining from adding salt and being aware of the salt content of food in restaurants and processed foods, could potentially reduce salt consumption by three grams a day, he suggested. High blood pressure or hypertension was the biggest single risk factor for heart disease and stroke and currently affected more than billion people worldwide, Balaji said. By 2025, it was estimated more than 1.5 million people, or nearly one in three adults over the age of 25, would have high blood pressure, he said.