Salty Diet Linked To Narrowed Arteries In The Heart And Neck

The more salt people eat, the greater their risk of clogged heart and neck arteries, a new study suggests. Arteries narrowed by plaque (atherosclerosis) can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

The study, published in March 2023 in the European Heart Journal Open, included 10,788 people ages 50 to 64. Researchers estimated each participant’s salt intake by measuring levels of sodium (the main component of salt) in 24-hour urine collections. The study volunteers all received heart imaging tests and ultrasounds of their neck arteries to look for signs of atherosclerosis.

The higher the participant’s urinary sodium, the greater the amount of artery-narrowing plaque in their necks and hearts. A high-salt diet is closely linked to high blood pressure, an important cause of atherosclerosis. However, the findings were consistent even among people with only mildly elevated blood pressure (below 140/90 mm Hg). This suggests that even people without high blood pressure should watch their salt intake, said the authors.

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