Scientists: Women are more at risk of heart disease due to salt
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Differences in health status are increasingly being found between men and women. There is growing evidence that women of all races and ages are more sensitive to salt than men. In addition, the tendency to retain more salt, which raises blood pressure, increases after menopause. These findings come from a study published in the American Heart Association's Journal of Hypertension.
Another important finding is that healthy blood pressure levels may differ between the sexes, meaning that women may be helpful to earlier and different interventions to avoid damage to their heart and blood vessels.
“The reality is that women and men regulate their blood pressure differently, and they have different levels at baseline”, — said Dr. Eric Belin de Chantemelé, a physiologist at the Center for Vascular Biology at the Medical College of Georgia at the University of Augusta.
Women are thought to be better protected against cardiovascular disease than men until women enter menopause when the risk levels out. Laboratory studies in hypertensive rat models such as the salt-sensitive Dahl rat generally support this, including the equalization of risk in both sexes after surgical ovariectomy.
However, in women and some mouse models, protection appears to be less absolute because more females are salt sensitive before menopause, and menopause exacerbates both its severity and prevalence, the researchers write.
“Salt sensitivity is one of the leading contributors to hypertension, and if you look at people with treatment-resistant hypertension, which is the majority of people, most of them are salt sensitive,” — scientists said.
Salt sensitivity means that your body has an obvious natural tendency to retain salt rather than excrete excess salt in the urine. Blood pressure salt sensitivity — this is when blood pressure drops or rises by more than 10% depending on how much salt you consume. According to Belin de Chantemelé, there is good human data showing that reducing salt intake decreases salt sensitivity, especially in women.< br />
Belin de Chantemelé and other researchers have found another unique factor about women: because their bodies are ready to reproduce, they have high levels of the hormone aldosterone, which is produced by the adrenal glands and has a direct effect on blood pressure by regulating water salt balance in the body. Women also tend to have much more aldosterone receptors.
High aldosterone levels are known to contribute to things that are harmful to the body, such as widespread inflammation, stiff and scarred blood vessels, and an enlarged heart. Scientists believe and have some evidence that in women, aldosterone mainly damages blood vessels, including their important ability to expand to accommodate more blood in response to retaining more salt. Scientists see this effect both in their lab mice and in women.
There is also evidence that women like salt more than men, Belin de Chantemelé concluded. Like many gender differences, salt addiction is likely due to the physiological need to retain sodium and the fluid that follows sodium, which is enough to support another life during pregnancy. There is also some evidence that the male hormone testosterone suppresses the appetite for salt. He recommends that we all drastically reduce our intake salt.
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