Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting
Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting
May 05, 2017
2 min read

Salt consumption linked to changes in teens’ blood vessels

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Adolescents who consumed too much salt had changes in their blood vessels comparable to early signs of CVD in adults, putting them at increased risk for myocardial infarction and stroke, according to findings being presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting.

Previously published research suggests that most children consume more than the 2,300-mg recommended daily allowance of sodium. Researchers involved with that study also found children’s salt intake occurred throughout the day.

Elaine Urbina
Elaine M. Urbina

“Recent studies demonstrate increased arterial stiffness in youth with risk factors including obesity, diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia,” Elaine M. Urbina, MD, MS, director, preventive cardiology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues wrote. “Whether adverse dietary patterns found in these high-risk youth mediate the development of increased arterial stiffness has not been thoroughly investigated.”

To gather more information on this topic, Urbina and colleagues measured brachial artery distensibility, pulse wave velocity between the carotid artery and femoral artery, and the amount of sodium consumed over a 3-day period in 775 hospital patients. They developed general linear models to ascertain if dietary sodium consumption was a predictor of arterial stiffness after adjusting for demographics, dietary calcium, magnesium and potassium as well as total energy consumption.

The researchers found that among the study’s participants, the mean sodium intake per day was 2,784 mg. They also found that higher average sodium intake was associated with lower brachial artery distensibility and higher pulse wave volume, which led to higher peripheral and central arterial stiffness. Sodium remained a significant determinant of both measures of arterial stiffness after adjustments for age, BMI, calcium, magnesium, potassium, race, sex and z-score. Sodium only remained significant in the pulse wave velocity model after adjusting for lipids. Both the brachial artery and pulse wave velocity models lost significance after further adjustments for BP or the presence of diabetes.

Urbina offered suggestions on what clinicians should do in light of the study’s findings.

“Medical professionals should obtain a detailed diet history for youth with high BP. If the physician does not have sufficient time during a routine office visit to do so, they may consider at least getting a beverage history as sports drinks are high in salt,” Urbina told Healio Family Medicine. “... Since there are many hidden sources of salt in the diet that may not be apparent to patients ... primary care physicians should refer youth with elevated BP to a dietician in an effort to reduce salt in the diet.” – by Janel Miller


Urbina, EM, et al. Effect of dietary sodium consumption on arterial stiffness in youth. Presented at: The 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting; May 6-9, 2017; San Francisco.

Disclosure: Urbina reports no relevant financial disclosures. Healio Family Medicine was unable to determine the other researchers’ relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.