FRIDAY, April 7, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- In minimal adjusted models, higher estimated 24-hour sodium excretion (est24hNa) is associated with coronary and carotid atherosclerosis, according to a study published online March 31 in the European Heart Journal Open.
Jonas Wuopio, from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues examined the association between salt intake and carotid and coronary atherosclerosis in a community-based cohort. The authors calculated est24hNa for individuals who underwent a coronary computed tomography (9,623 individuals) and measurement of coronary artery calcium score (CACS; 10,289 individuals). Carotid plaques were detected using carotid ultrasound (10,700 individuals). The odds ratios were calculated per 1,000-mg increase in est24hNa.
The researchers found that in minimal adjusted models, increased est24hNa correlated with increased occurrence of carotid plaques, higher CACS, and coronary artery stenosis (odds ratios, 1.09, 1.16, and 1.17, respectively). When adjusting for blood pressure, associations were abolished. The associations remained for carotid plaques but not for coronary atherosclerosis when adjusting for established cardiovascular risk factors (not including blood pressure). No evidence of J-formed associations was seen.
"The results show that the more salt people eat, the higher the burden of atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries of the heart and neck. The increase in blood pressure due to a high salt intake seems to be an important underlying mechanism for these findings," Wuopio said in a statement. "Interestingly, the results were consistent when we restricted our analyses to participants with normal blood pressure (below 140/90 mm Hg) or to those without known cardiovascular disease. This means that it's not just patients with hypertension or heart disease who need to watch their salt intake."
One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.