High-salt diet linked to hardened arteries even in people with normal blood pressure

Credit: Farhad Ibrahimzade/Unsplash.

Excessive salt intake has long been linked to heart disease, but a new study provides fresh evidence of just how damaging salt can be to our cardiovascular health.

The study found that a high-salt diet is associated with clogged arteries in the heart and neck, which can lead to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

The researchers found that each rise in salt intake was linked to more atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of plaque in the arteries that can restrict blood flow and lead to heart disease.

Even people with normal blood pressure levels were affected by high salt intake, indicating that salt could be damaged even before the development of hypertension.

The team tested 10,778 adults aged 50 to 64 years, who were part of the Swedish CArdioPulmonary bioImage Study (SCAPIS).

The researchers estimated salt consumption by measuring urinary sodium excretion and obtained 3D images of the heart arteries using coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA).

They found that rising salt consumption was linked to increasing atherosclerosis in both the neck and heart arteries in a stepwise fashion.

The team recommends limiting the use of table salt and replacing it with a salt substitute that contains 70%–80% sodium chloride and 20%–30% potassium chloride, which has been shown to be beneficial for heart health.

The World Health Organization also recommends minimizing salt intake to about a teaspoon a day.

The findings of the study reinforce the importance of monitoring salt intake to reduce the risk of heart disease and related cardiovascular diseases.

Atherosclerosis is a serious condition that can cause chest pain, heart attacks, strokes, and even death.

By reducing salt intake and adopting a healthy lifestyle, we can improve our heart health and reduce the risk of these devastating diseases.

In conclusion, this study provides further evidence of the negative impact of high salt intake on our cardiovascular health.

By limiting our consumption of salt and using substitutes that are healthier for our hearts, we can reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis and related heart diseases.

It’s never too late to start taking care of our hearts, and this study serves as a reminder of just how important it is to do so.

Hardening of the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis, occurs when plaque builds up on the inner walls of the arteries, causing them to become narrow and stiff.

This can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease and stroke. However, there are steps you can take to prevent or slow down the progression of this condition.

Here are some ways to prevent hardened arteries:

Eat a healthy diet: Eating a healthy, balanced diet that is low in saturated and trans fats can help prevent the buildup of plaque in your arteries. Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help reduce the risk of developing hardened arteries. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling, most days of the week.

Manage your weight: Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent the buildup of plaque in your arteries. If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

Don’t smoke: Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease and can accelerate the development of hardened arteries. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit.

Control your blood pressure: High blood pressure can damage the walls of your arteries and accelerate the development of hardened arteries. Work with your doctor to control your blood pressure through lifestyle changes and medication if necessary.

Manage your cholesterol levels: High levels of LDL cholesterol (often referred to as “bad” cholesterol) can contribute to the buildup of plaque in your arteries. Eating a healthy diet and taking medication if necessary can help control your cholesterol levels.

If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about cannabis linked to 3-times higher death risk in high blood pressure, and widely used blood pressure drugs may raise blood pressure in some patients.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about plant nutrients that could help reduce high blood pressure, and these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.

The study was conducted by Dr. Jonas Wuopio et al and published in the European Heart Journal Open.

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