High Salt Intake Linked to Atherosclerosis Even With Normal BP

6 Apr 2023 • Study results published in the European Heart Journal concludes that a high salt intake is an important risk factor for atherosclerosis, even in the absence of hypertension. The study showed a significant link between dietary salt intake and the risk for atherosclerotic lesions in the coronary and carotid arteries, even in participants without known cardiovascular disease.

  • The analysis included 10,788 adults ages 50 to 64 years, (average age, 58 years; 52% women) who underwent a coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) scan. The estimated 24-hour sodium excretion was used to measure sodium intake.
  • Each 1000 mg rise in sodium excretion was associated with a 9% increased occurrence of carotid plaque , a higher coronary artery calcium score and a 17% increased occurrence of coronary artery stenosis.
  • They also reported no sign of a "J-curve"; participants with the lowest levels of sodium excretion had the lowest occurrence of both coronary and carotid atherosclerosis, which contradicts findings in some studies that found very low sodium linked to increased cardiovascular disease–related events.

"I will be telling my patients to follow the advice given by the World Health Organization and other medical societies, to limit your intake of salt to approximately 1 teaspoon, even if your blood pressure is normal." said first author, Dr. Jonas Wuopio.

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