Washington: Researchers have debunked the widely-believed concept that hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the result of excess salt causing an increased blood volume, exerting extra pressure on the arteries.Their research found that excess salt stimulates the sympathetic nervous system to produce adrenalin, causing artery constriction and hypertension.The research was led by Irene Gavras, MD, and Haralambos Gavras, MD, both professors of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.“The purpose of this paper is to correct an erroneous concept that has prevailed for many years, even though scientific evidence has mounted against it,” said Irene Gavras, who is also a physician in Boston Medical Center`s Hypertension practice.The term “volume-expanded hypertension” implies that excess salt leads to the retention of extra fluid within the arterial circulatory system, causing an increase in blood volume and added pressure on the arterial walls.However, research has shown that conditions characterized by the expansion of blood volume from other causes, such as the secretion of antidiuretic hormone or the excessive elevation of blood sugar, do not cause a rise in blood pressure because the extra fluid is accommodated by the distention of capillaries and veins.“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, MD, professor of medicine at BUSM.
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