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New study identifies possible cause of salt-induced hypertension
Date:4/14/2011

New research from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Kent State University shows that salt intake raises blood pressure because it makes it harder for the cardiovascular system to simultaneously juggle the regulation of blood pressure and body temperature.

For decades, medical researchers have sought to understand how salt causes salt-induced high blood pressure to no avail. Some individuals, described as "salt sensitive," experience an increase in blood pressure following the ingestion of salt, whereas others, termed "salt resistant," do not. Until now, scientists have been unable to explain why some individuals are salt sensitive and others are salt resistant. This inability to explain why salt raises blood pressure in some individuals but not others has hampered the development of a comprehensive theory as to what causes most cases of high blood pressure.

Since the cardiovascular system is responsible for maintaining normal blood pressure and also helps control body temperature by conducting heat from the muscles and internal organs to the skin's surface, a team of researchers led by Robert P. Blankfield, MD, MS, clinical professor of family medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and a member of the Department of Family Medicine at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Ellen L. Glickman, PhD, professor of exercise science at Kent State University, tested whether these dual roles of the cardiovascular system might help explain how salt ingestion leads to salt-sensitive hypertension.

The researchers examined the effect of salt and water consumption versus just water upon a group of 22 healthy men without high blood pressure. The study participants' blood pressure, rectal temperature, cardiac index (the volume of blood pumped by the heart per minute), and urine output were monitored at one, two, and three hours after the men ingested either salt and water or water alone. Changes i
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Contact: Jessica Studeny
jessica.studeny@case.edu
216-368-4692
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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