Too much salt can lead to arterial stiffness in adolescents

A new study from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center suggests that teenagers who consume too much salt experience significant changes in their blood vessels that predispose them to cardiovascular disease later in life.

The study, which included more than 750 adolescents, showed that significant salt consumption was associated with arterial stiffness, which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The research will be presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in San Francisco and was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Participants, recruited from the children’s hospital, were measured for the elasticity and distensibility of their brachial artery. Researchers also measured teens’ pulse wave velocity (PWV), and sodium intake was self-reported by the participants.

"Together, these two readings indicated higher levels of stiffness in both peripheral arteries in the extremities, as well as in central arteries, tied to higher sodium consumption,” said Elaine M. Urbina, MD, the director of preventive cardiology at the children’s hospital, in a statement.

"It's clear that adolescents and young adults have higher-than-recommended amounts of salt in their diet. Our study suggests this may translate into changes in the body that put them at higher risk for future heart attack and stroke.”