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How salt affects blood pressure? Nutritionist answers

How salt affects blood pressure? Nutritionist answers How salt affects blood pressure (

One of the key rules of healthy eating is limiting salt intake. Consuming too much sodium (the main component of salt in the form of sodium chloride) is associated with high blood pressure, according to nutritionist Oleg Shvets.

How salt affects blood pressure

The body reacts to excess sodium by retaining water to reduce the concentration of this active ion. As a result, the amount of fluid in the blood vessels increases.

This raises the pressure in the arteries and forces the heart to work harder. Excess sodium neutralizes the benefits of two types of medicines against high blood pressure, namely diuretics and vasodilators. Diuretics help remove excess fluid and sodium from the body, while vasodilators relax the walls of blood vessels.

Eating a diet high in sodium forces the body to retain extra fluid and fill the relaxed arteries, counteracting the effects of medications.

Genetics and salt

18 genetic variants associated with salt sensitivity and high blood pressure are known so far.

Researchers recently found that one variant encoding the protein STRN (Striatin) leads to salt sensitivity through two different mechanisms, which vary by sex.

In men, this variant causes circulation problems through the kidneys. But in women, it leads to an inappropriate increase in the hormone aldosterone. This hormone, secreted by the adrenal glands, helps the kidneys regulate water, sodium, and potassium.

Conclusions published in the Hypertension Journal in February 2024 could influence the treatment of people with high blood pressure. According to them, men with the STRN variant will respond better to blood pressure medications such as ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers, while women will benefit more from medicines that affect aldosterone and act as diuretics, known as mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists.

In fact, using the wrong medication (i.e., one different from what would be best according to genetic research) could even cause harm.

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be used for medical diagnosis or self-treatment. Our goal is to provide readers with accurate information about symptoms, causes, and methods of detecting diseases. RBС-Ukraine is not responsible for any diagnoses that readers may make based on materials from the resource. We do not recommend self-treatment and advise consulting a doctor in case of any health concerns.