Teens who consume too much salt show unhealthy changes to blood vessels
PAS Meeting Updates
SAN FRANCISCO – Findings of a new study being presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic
Societies Meeting in San Francisco suggest adolescents who consume too much salt have
measurable changes in their blood vessels associated with early signs of cardiovascular
disease in adults.
Arterial stiffness, sometimes called hardening of the arteries, is a known risk factor
for heart attack and stroke in adults. Monitors placed on the skin near major arteries
in the arm, neck and groin can detect this condition, which indicates increased risk
of heart attack and stroke.
Recent studies have found increased arterial stiffness in youth with risk factors
such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. Researchers presenting
the abstract, “Effect of Dietary Sodium Consumption on Arterial Stiffness in Youth,”
on Monday, May 8, in the Moscone West Convention Center examined whether too much
salt in the diet of teens and adolescents similarly affects their artery walls.
The National Institutes of Health-funded study involved 775 participants recruited
from an Ohio children’s hospital who were measured for the elasticity or distensibility
of their brachial artery (BrachD), located in the upper arm. Pulse wave velocity (PWV)
was also measured for differences in the speed that blood traveled between their carotid
artery in the neck and femoral artery in the groin. The amount of sodium they consumed
was measured with self-reported, three-day diet records.
Elaine M. Urbina, M.D., M.S., director of preventive cardiology at Cincinnati Children’s
Hospital Medical Center and lead author of the study, said the results showed that
higher average daily sodium intake was associated with lower BrachD and higher PWV
after adjusting for age, race, sex, body-mass index and other blood electrolyte levels
that could affect readings.
“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,” Dr. Urbina said.
“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.”
The Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Meeting brings together thousands of individuals
united by a common mission: to improve child health and well-being worldwide. This
international gathering includes pediatric researchers, leaders in academic pediatrics,
experts in child health, and practitioners. The PAS Meeting is produced through a
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