A team of researchers from the US has sought to dispel the widely-believed concept that hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is the result of too much salt in the body causing increased blood volume and a buildup of pressure in the arteries.
Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine undertook a study to show that excess salt actually causes high blood pressure by stimulating production of adrenalin, which causes arteries to constrict.
Writing in the Journal of Hypertension, Professors Irene and Haralambos Gavras explained that the retention of extra fluid in the circuitry system has not been shown to cause an increase in blood pressure, with capillaries and veins distending to accommodate for these changes.
“The body’s circulatory system is a highly flexible vascular system with the capacity to open up new capillaries and distend veins in order to accommodate increased fluid volume,” said Irene Gavras.
Instead, their review of previous studies showed that too much salt intake causes the sympathetic nervous system in the brain to increase adrenalin production.
This over-stimulation has been recognised as a clinical characteristic of hypertension.
Currently diuretics are used to remove excess salt, however the study suggests that treatments focusing on the sympathetic nervous system may be more effective at reducing high blood pressure.